Peugeot sets the new brand identity and communication in motion with the launch of the new 308, one of their staple products for dealers and the brand.

The front design continues the styling that was first seen on the new 508 sedan with the hook-shaped DRLs form as an extension to the slim Matrix LED headlamps.

The main focus is however the central portion of the front, where the new Peugeot brand coat of arms emblem reside. The company even said the design of the grille was entirely dedicated to the new emblem.  Different radar transmitters, placed behind the grille, were selected to ensure the grille looks flush while the registration plate has been move downwards.

The coat of arms emblem is also repeated on the front fenders. Directly above the wheel arches are deep horizontal chisels into the body giving the new Peugeot 308 a more powerful character.

The three claws in taillamp, meanwhile, look less stylish though, as if just red diagonal lines were unevenly drawn in three boxes. The chrome trim pieces at the lower corners of the bumper also look unnecessary, a styling element usually for exhaust outlets but in the new Peugeot 308, it is just elaborate styling.   

Dimensionally, length and width have increased but not the height, which has been lowered. Peugeot says the increase of 55 mm in the wheelbase specifically target better rear passenger comfort. Numerically, the new Peugeot 308 is 4,367 mm long, 1,852 mm wide and 1,444 mm tall plus a wheelbase of 2,675 mm- figures that all larger and lower in height than the best-seller, the Volkswagen Golf.

One aspect that could be better elaborated by Peugeot is the technique used to increase body rigidity. The company said, ”Rigidity of the body has been optimized by glueing the structural elements.” That is some super strong glue there! The new 308 is built from an evolution of the EMP2 (Efficient Modular Platform) with new structural elements.

Inside, the new Peugeot 308 continues to evolve the i-Cockpit dashboard design. A standard 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system is included, with higher-placed variants getting an equally sized driver’s information display.  Users can speak “OK Peugeot” naturally and the voice command will perform the defined task as requested.

Below the infotainment screen is an array of virtual i-toggle switches. Each i-toggle is a touch-sensitive shortcut key to the settings for the air-conditioner, telephone, audio source or an application launch, set up individually according to the user’s choice.

The new i-Cockpit also includes the participation of the front passenger, where the centre console is deliberately open towards his or her direction. There is no shift lever for vehicles with automatic transmission, instead, a new compact rocker-control is used for the selection of Reverse and Drive direction, with a button for Park.

There are a total of seven powertrain choices in the new Peugeot 308, covering all customer requirements provided it is not fully electric. Headlining the new model is the availability of not one but two output levels of the petrol plug-in hybrid system. Both are powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine with either 150 or 180 horsepower, with a single torque value of 250 Nm.

When paired with a 110 hp/320 Nm electric motor, the combined system output is 180 hp or 225 hp, with a total torque output of 360 Nm. The hybrid system channels drive through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

With a 12.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the plug-in hybrid Peugeot 308 can travel up to 60 km in full electric mode. Apart from a ‘HYBRID’ emblem on the tailgate, there is no special identification for the plug-in hybrid models which are known as HYBRID 180 and HYBRID 225.

Three petrol engines and two diesel engines with outputs of up to 130 hp are paired with a six-speed manual or the aforementioned eight-speed automatic transmission. No acceleration times have been shared yet.

Newly developed Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) such as semi-automatic lane change and curve speed adaptation are available in the new Peugeot 308. With the semi-automatic lane change feature, the driver is suggested by the system to overtake the vehicle in front and then return to the original lane, usable at speeds from 70 km/h to 180 km/h.

The curve speed adaptation feature meanwhile optimizes speed according to the curve of the bend, up to 180 km/h.

Connectivity between owner and vehicle is enhanced using the smartphone application, allowing remote start of the air-conditioning as well as charging times for the hybrid.

The new Peugeot 308 will be produced in France at the Mulhouse plant and deliveries for Europe is scheduled for the second half of this year.