THE first thing you notice about the new Peugeot 508 is the sleek silhouette.

It treads a fine line between coupe and saloon, and it looks gorgeous.

Peugeot has form in making beautiful-looking cars – none more so than the sadly no longer with us RCZ coupe – and the five-door 508 is genuinely exciting to behold.

The cabin does not disappoint either. There’s so much going on in there that I half expected to find a kitchen sink thrown in.

The seats in this top-end GT Line version are of full grain leather and side buttons prompt multi-way electric adjustment. Oh, and did I mention that there’s the option to have a massage function too? Mmm, lovely.

Then there’s the i-Cockpit, which comprises a 12.3-inch instrument panel, multi-function steering wheel and a ten-inch touchscreen to handle functions such as the audio, phone connection, navigation and climate control.

Beautiful to look at, with a vast array of information and functions at your fingertips and a premium ambience, the 508 is undoubtedly raising the bar in the D-class segment.

And to cap it all, the drive quality is excellent too. The tested version came with a creamily smooth 1.6-litre turbocharged PureTech petrol engine that – mated with superb eight-speed automatic transmission - made for a relaxing journey, whether the road be twisty in the backwoods or straight along a motorway.

A choice of driving modes, plus paddle-shifters, give the option to enjoy a manual drive, a more sporty experience or a more economical journey. Whichever you choose, the journey will not be spoiled by road noise.

It comes as no surprise to learn that the striking new look takes inspiration from a sports coupé, with sharp side window design, frameless doors and alloy wheels that fill the wheel arch housings.

What does come as a surprise is the attention to detail at the rear. Not only do you find a beautifully integrated rear hatch with LED claw effect rear lights that must be the best looking in the segment, but there’s a huge aperture to a very generous 487-litre boot.

Available with a range of six petrol and diesel engines mated to either six-speed manual or eight-speed auto transmission combinations, covering 130 to 225hp, the 508 comes in Active, Allure, GT Line, GT and First Edition trim levels.

The new flagship model comes equipped with class-leading levels of advanced driver assistance systems, including a new night vision system, which is new to the segment and uses an infrared camera with the ability to detect pedestrians at night and in cases of reduced visibility.

The i-Cockpit functions come as standard, but you will have to head for the GT Line, GT and First Edition models to get some of the safety and comfort features.

Attention to detail is exceptional. The GT Line comes with full LED technology, including a scrolling welcome sequence to the rear lights on unlocking the vehicle, a choice of finishes and sizes for the alloy wheels and a most attractive chrome-chequered grille.

There’s a host of safety and convenience features too. The Visio Park system offers three grades of assistance, from parking sensors and cameras to fully automated parking assistance. The lane keeping technologies can, in truth, become annoying in their attempts to keep you on the straight and central, but automatic emergency braking, blind spot detection, automatic full beam and road sign recognition are the sort of features that can save your life or your pocket.

Peugeot has spent many months concentrating on the SUV sector, producing the excellent 3008 and 5008.

Now its mainstream family car has blossomed into something beautiful.