Being good is simply not good enough to take a slice of the modern motoring market, particularly in a sector that is shrinking like big saloons.

And when you are taking aim at seriously upmarket marques such as BMW and Audi, you need to offer something extra special.

Peugeot has done just that with the 508, combining sleek fastback styling, state-of-the-art interior and upmarket feel to produce a car with genuine, head-turning desirability.

That combination was enough to take the title of best upper-medium car at the 2019 Business Car awards.

Peugeot is clearly on a mission to transform its brand image with a clear shift to more prestige, chic, smart vehicles.

The new 508 looks the part with a classy, yet simple design. At the front, a sharp grille is flanked by slim headlights and on the high-specification model driven here, a striking set of vertical LED daytime running lights.

Despite appearances, it is actually shorter than its predecessor and lower and more compact than some of its competitors.

The coupe-style frameless doors contribute to its sleek looks and at the rear a set of Peugeot’s latest ‘claw-effect’ lights sit in a black bar.

The sharp styling is matched by an ultra-modern interior, complete with ‘i-Cockpit’ digital instrumentation, stepped dashboard and a large touchscreen, all surrounded with carbon-effect and piano black trim.

The test car also came with a smartphone charging plate, front and rear parking sensors and a colour reversing camera.

The overall light weight of the steering and smaller than usual steering wheel add to the nimble feel of the car on the road, making it much more agile than its size might first suggest.

The 508 comes with a choice of PureTech petrol and BlueHDi diesel engines, ranging from 130 horsepower up to 225, with both manual and automatic transmissions available on most engines.

The punchy 225 horsepower unit in the test car makes it a thoroughly enjoyable car to drive. Adaptive suspension is standard on all petrol models but leave the car in its normal setting and it delivers excellent body control.

Road noise is nicely muted, despite a set of large wheels, and low wind noise and well-managed engine noise combine to make for refined motorway cruising.

Some of its rivals might have larger load spaces, but the 508’s boot is larger and more practical than its predecessor and it is easily accessed through a large, electrically-operated tailgate.

Priced from about £25,000, the 508 comes in four trim levels – Active, Allure, GT-Line and GT.

For those looking for even more space there is an SW estate version and plug-in-hybrid powertrains are also available for both versions. Peugeot says by 2023 it will offer an electrified version of every model in its line-up.

Auto facts

Model: Peugeot 508 GT Line 1.6L PureTech 225

Price: £31,244

Insurance group: 34

Fuel consumption (combined): 52.3mpg

Top speed: 143mph

Length: 475cm/179.4in

Width: 186cm/73in

Luggage capacity: 487 litres/17.1 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 13.6 gallons/62 litres

CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles