With prices reaching nearly £31,000, the new 407 Coupe will be bravely going head-to-head with the likes of the 3-series coupe and the CLK as Peugeot aims to tempt user-choosers away from the established German marques through lower pricing and better equipment levels.
On sale from January, the 407 Coupe will feature a 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel which has been developed between PSA Peugeot-Citroen and Ford. The engine has already seen service in the Jaguar S-type and XJ ranges.
According to Peugeot’s fleet and leasing director, Steve Harris, the range-topping HDi V6 diesel will undercut both BMW’s 320 Cd Sport and the Mercedes-Benz CLK320 CDI in price, and will offer better specification.
He said: ‘As well as being superior in terms of value for money, the Coupe will also boast greater exclusivity.
‘It should have strong appeal to user-choosers – it will be the car to be seen in.’
However, not too many drivers will get the chance to be seen in one, as Peugeot is only expecting to sell 2,500 models during a full year, with about two-thirds going to business buyers.
Harris added: ‘There is strong competition in the sector, but this will be the model that will stand out in the company car park.
‘As the flagship 407, we think it should create a halo effect on the image of our saloon and SW models – and we believe its relative rarity will help residual values.’
Due to start reaching the showrooms by the end of January, the Coupe is longer and wider than the saloon on which it is based, but is 4.5mm lower. But it still seats four adults in comfort and has one of the largest luggage areas in its class.
Despite its steeply-raked rear window, the Coupe’s boot is easy to load and has 60/40 split rear seats which fold down to provide a flat luggage area. Like the saloon, it comes with plenty of handy storage areas, cup holders and a refrigerated glovebox and even has a supplementary power outlet at the rear of the centre console.
In addition to the V6 turbodiesel, the Coupe will offer a choice of 3.0-litre V6 and 2.2-litre petrol engines and will come in S, SE and GT trim grades – each of them particularly well-specified. Sitting on 17-inch alloy wheels, the basic car has xenon headlamps, CD player, a Bluetooth hands-free phone kit, dual-zone climate control, side, curtain and steering column airbags, tyre pressure monitoring, cruise control, rear parking sensors and an alarm.
Leather upholstery is included with the SE badge, along with adjustable damping, upgraded hi-fi, a six-disc autochanger, heated front seats, front parking sensors, 18-inch alloys and directional headlights, while the GT trim level – restricted to V6 engines – adds colour screen satellite navigation and leather trim for the dashboard and door panels.
Claimed by Peugeot to be its most developed model in a century of coupe manufacturing, the 407 makes an arsenal of sophisticated electronics available to aid its driver, centred on a multi-function display that provides information on audio, air conditioning, trip computer and navigation settings.
The car’s door mirrors fold away neatly when it is locked and its automatic wiper system provides 16 operating speeds to sweep the windscreen, depending on the intensity of the rain.
Saddle-stitched leather trim gives an opulent look to the interior of SE and GT models, and laminated glass is used for the side windows of all models to help cut noise levels.
As well as the usual venting, the air conditioning system includes a diffuser to make sure the car’s occupants don’t have to endure fierce blasts of chilled air.
Harris added: ‘This is a sporting car, but above all it has been crafted to provide comfortable travel in a stylish and dramatic package.
‘We think it will appeal to executives who have to undertake long distance journeys and take pleasure from their driving.’
Behind the wheel
WHILE the 407 Coupe’s looks may not please everyone, there’s no doubt it is an eye-catcher with powerful, dynamic lines – and from behind the wheel the mid-range 3.0 V6 with a six-speed manual gearbox provides the performance to match.
As well as being sprightly off the mark, the car has such a good combination of traction, confident road-holding and effective sound insulation that much of the sensation of speed tends to be lost – which means the speedometer needle can easily register illegal levels on motorways.
But for sheer breathtaking ability, the turbodiesel is the pick of the range. Not only does it match the petrol V6 in acceleration, this version of Peugeot’s most rewarding big car to arrive does it with aplomb.
Remarkably refined, its massive torque band proves to be perfectly matched to a six-speed automatic transmission that’s a delight, making seamless changes as the car surges ahead.
The turbocharged engine also proves to be extremely frugal and capable of returning 40mpg when driven with restraint – yet good as it undoubtedly is, the V6 HDi is burdened with a hefty price penalty over the V6 petrol car that amounts to £1,530 for the SE and £1,500 for the GT.
Aficionados may find that a tad too much to pay – especially when Jaguar only puts an £800 premium on the same engine.
PEUGEOT planned to sell around 75,000 examples of the stunningly attractive 406 Coupe when it was launched in 1997 but had sold more than 108,000 by the time it went out of production in 2004.
The firm’s heritage in the sector allows it to hit the ground running with the 407 – but it’s a pity the diesel version has such a hefty price premium.
|Model:||2.2||3.0 V6||2.7 V6 HDi|
|Max power (bhp/rpm):||163/5,875||211/6,000||205/4,000|
|Max torque (lb-ft/rpm):||165/4,150||218/3,750||330/1,900|
|Max speed (mph):||138||151||143|
|Fuel consumption (mpg):||30.7||27.6||33.2|
|CO2 emissions (g/km):||219||242||226|
|On sale:||January 2006|