The Peugeot 308 HYBRID 225 e-EAT8, to give it at least two thirds of its impossibly long name, is a plug-in hybrid. There’s a four-cylinder turbocharged engine slung out over the nose, with extra propulsion coming from an electric motor on the front axle. That’s good for a combined 225PS (165kW) and 360Nm (266lb ft). Almost all of that torque comes from the electric motors (320Nm to be precise) which means that the system very much runs as a whole, rather than the batteries just kicking in some extra performance.
As a result, when everything works together the 308 is sprightly. Full throttle requests a decent kick from the electric motor, filling the gap nicely before the traditional engine really gets itself going. That means 62mph is reached in 7.5 seconds and the 308 will go on to 146mph if you ask it to (full EV mode will restrict that to 83mph. Electric mode brings very little difference in performance, the Peugeot still hustling itself well when you ask.
Steering is light, but weights up very artificially in sport mode, with the little i-cockpit wheel very much in “twirl around like a baton” mode, rather than providing any real resistance. Pushing right back to those French car stereotypes, the 308’s real strong point is comfort. Back-to-back tested against some German exec fair, the 308 came out significantly on top in the comfort stakes. The suspension is supple and damped nicely without being prone to a wallow. Even with a lot of weight in the nose the Peugeot doesn’t ever feel like it’s struggling to control its mass through a corner. It will nip around nicely, without ever pushing you into overconfidence. The fronts grip strongly even if you chuck the 308 in, never really offering too much to be concerned about.
That all said, if you do let the batteries run out of juice – and with battery saving settings that is entirely your own fault – the Peugeot 308 does start to wheeze a teeny bit. The 250Nm (184lb ft) of torque from the engine should be enough, but without the instant electric torque it suddenly feels lacking until it starts to move up the rev range.
The switch between electric and petrol motion is controlled smoothly and the 308 Hybrid is capable of 37 miles on its batteries alone. As you might expect the c200-mile range promised by the WLTP cycle is a little bit of a fantasy day-to-day, but when we kept the 308’s batteries topped up we did see mpg into three figures.