GENEVA, Feb 23 — Ahead of its public debut next month at the Geneva Motor Show, Peugeot has unveiled its new 508, which is a large family sedan that's looking to prove there's still a place for such a vehicle in a market increasingly dominated by crossover SUVs.

Aimed at competing against models as diverse as the Opel Insignia, Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen Passat and even the BMW 3 Series, the new Peugeot 508 is a much more radical design than the somewhat conservative model it replaces.

The new car adopts the increasingly popular "fastback" five-door format with an aggressive roofline that tapers down towards a very complex rear three-quarter panel.

It's not quite as aggressive as the Kia Stinger GT, but there are definitely some similarities, and that's not a bad thing considering how well the Kia has been received.

It seems Peugeot is trying to invoke a more emotional appeal with the new 508, so its design and whole ethos is intended to excite potential buyers in a way other more mainstream models such as the Mondeo and Citroen C5 simply don't.

In line with other recent updates to its models, Peugeot is trying to reinvent itself as a more premium brand than it's been seen as in the past.

This model is designed to appeal to the kind of buyer who is increasingly being tempted to move from mainstream models to prestige offerings such as the Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4.

Under the attractive bodywork will be the choice of six different petrol and diesel powertrain combinations, with power outputs ranging from 128 bhp to as much as 222 bhp.

At the moment, only around five per cent of 508 sales can be attributed to petrol versions.

But it's believed PSA expects around a quarter of all sales of the new model to be petrol in the wake of the backlash against diesel currently sweeping Europe.

But as this new 508 moves from PSA's relatively old PF3 platform to the very latest EMP2 chassis architecture, by the end of 2019 there's also going to be a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid edition of the 508.

And it's expected to have a power output matching the most potent conventional powertrain being offered in the new-generation of the 508.

Also based on a new platform and on display in Geneva will be a new Peugeot Rifter 4x4 concept. It shares a platform with the Citroen Berlingo and Vauxhall Combo Life, but the Rifter is an uplifted off-roader that still maintains some of the natural practicality and versatility of those MPVs it shares underpinnings with. — AFP-Relaxnews