President's Report - July 2011

Greetings All,

A small group of club members celebrated Bastille Day a few days early with lunch at Le Très Bon restaurant in Bungendore on Sunday 10 July. Rob Turner had intending to come down from Bowral, but with fierce winds forecast, he chose not to risk it. Rob will doubtless be envious to know that the food was excellent and being truffle season, there was a separate truffle menu from which some of us chose special treats. Maybe next year, Rob?

The real Bastille Day (14 July) was actually celebrated at Melrose Automobiles, with drinks and nibbles to launch the 508 in Canberra. A white sedan and a black touring wagon were on display to tempt potential buyers such as yours truly. Indeed, having also test-driven the sedan, I am very impressed with the look and feel of the car, to the point that I will almost certainly buy one.

Some things that I like about the 508 sedan:

  1. The interior finish is very stylish and the leather seats are fantastically comfortable. In fact you can only have leather seats, and only in black as far as I can tell.
  2. It's almost effortless to drive, very quiet and handles well for a big car. The steering is particularly precise.
  3. The car "looks good" from every angle - very understated body styling with no humps or bumps like some of the smaller Pugs in recent years.
  4. The 508 has better ground clearance at the front than the 407 - I am forever nudging the kerb when I park my 407 front-in.

Great fuel economy for a big car - its bigger, but lighter and quicker than the 407, and gets a claimed 5.7 litres/100km (combined cycle) compared with the 6.3 litres/100km I am achieving in my 407.

Some minor quibbles:

  1. Despite a plethora of electronic gadgetry, including front and rear parking sensors, rainsensing wipers, auto-sensing rear view mirror etc, there are no tyre-pressure sensors. My 407 has tyre-pressure sensors, and although the computer doesn't tell me which tyre(s) is (are) low on pressure, I have found it to be a helpful reminder.
  2. Head room in the back seat of the sedan is about the same as the 407 and for tall blokes like me, it's not quite enough. However, the touring wagon has much better headroom. Needless to say, I will be in the drivers' seat if I buy a 508.
  3. Not really a quibble, but I could probably do without the paddles (for changing gears) on the steering wheel. Call me old fashioned, but if I'm going to drive the 6 speed auto in manual mode, I'd prefer to use the gear stick. Then again, I might get used to paddles!

I'm writing this column in Switzerland and two weeks ago I was in Indonesia. Talk about contrasting countries and cars! Fuel is about $2/litre and Peugeots are very common in one, whereas fuel is about 45 cents/litre and Pugs were not sighted in the other. Guess which is which?

Sadly, my Swiss trip means that I will miss this month's club meeting, which will be held at the Irish Club in Weston, at 8pm Tuesday 26 July, with dinner from 7pm. However, that's no excuse for others not to attend - please do, and I will catch up with everyone at the August club meeting, perhaps with a new car!

Keep on Pugging,

Brad Pillans

Picture of Brad