The last phrase is perhaps the most ironic. The Maranello carmaker’s greatest creations are, by and large, styled by Italian design house Pininfarina. The same firm, in fact, that styled the 407 Coupe’s predecessor, the curvy and rather beautiful 406. But for the 407, Peugeot decided not to contract out the design and came up with its own in-house look.
I’m not entirely sure which parts of the latest 407 are Ferrari-inspired. The front end is more reminiscent of a slightly unhinged guppy, complete with gaping mouth and gills. It looks better from the back, with new rear lights and bumper which improve the derriere found on the 407 saloon. But from the side, the ‘well-proportioned’ statement is challenged by the considerable front overhang that doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the car.
Still, the Coupe does look much sportier and purposeful than its four-door sibling.
However, don’t expect it to drive like it looks. Despite the rakish lines, this is an entirely undramatic car to cruise around in – not a problem if that’s what you’re looking for, but a little disappointing if you expect the static dynamism to continue on the move.
The 2.2-litre petrol engine is competent and makes a nice noise with the windows down, but is devoid of any excitement. The 163bhp unit powers the Coupe to 62mph in a leisurely 9.2 seconds. Put the windows up and your journey will be extremely quiet thanks to double-glazed windows.
Handling is surprisingly good for such a long unwieldy-looking car. It’s keen to turn in and rewards smooth driving. However, the gearbox is vague and rubbery.
While the Coupe may not be a joy to drive or look at, it is a very pleasant car to be inside.
The interior looks modern and stylish, and is well put together from soft-touch materials. The seats, as is the norm in Peugeots, are hugging and comfortable, and the SE model we drove is smothered in leather, even around the instrument binnacle and dashboard.
It’s all very plush and great for long motorway journeys. Stacks of gizmos are fitted as standard, including xenon headlights.
There are some nice touches for practicality, such as the electric seats which automatically slide forward to allow access to the back, and the nearside wing mirror that lowers when reversing to give the driver a good view of the approaching kerb.
However, the optional satellite navigation (£1,350) doesn’t allow for destination input by postcode, which is rather frustrating for such an expensive feature.
The boot is huge, and includes a luggage net to stop the shopping flying about.
Despite its sporty appearance, and the grand claims of Peugeot’s advertising department, the Coupe is more of a cruiser. It’s a comfortable and relaxing way to travel.
Three rivals to consider
THE RX-8 mixes good looks and practicality thanks to its discreet rear doors. It also includes a Bose stereo with six-CD changer and is the most powerful car here with 228bhp (or 231PS – hence the name). The 3-series is the least powerful with 150bhp and not many frills as standard. The 407 Coupe is £300 more, but includes full leather and a six-CD changer. The Brera includes a sunroof and packs 185bhp.
Alfa Romeo £24,272
PEUGEOT’S 407 Coupe is the cheapest car to keep on the road by more than a penny a mile. A fleet running the 407 over three years/ 60,000 miles can expect to pay £1,824, or 3.04ppm, in servicing, maintenance and repair costs. The RX-8 will produce a bill of £2,448, while the more prestigious 318 Ci and Brera will set back a fleet £2,748 and £2,874 respectively thanks to higher labour rates.
Alfa Romeo 4.79ppm
PACKING the least powerful engine, the 3-series is also the least thirsty with a claimed fuel economy figure of 38.2mpg. Over three years/ 60,000 miles expect it to drink £6,744 in petrol, or 11.24ppm. The 407 Coupe on 30.7mpg is almost 2ppm more. The Brera is close behind, with 30.1mpg giving a likely bill of £8,562, while the RX-8 is well off the pace thanks to its rotary engine which is notorious for its thirst. At 25.2mpg it will cost £10,392 in unleaded petrol.
Alfa Romeo 14.27ppm
THE Brera tops the chart here, with CAP predicting it will retain 45% of its cost new after three years/60,000 miles, losing £13,422, or 22.37ppm, in the process. The Mazda also fares well, with an RV of 42% leaving a cash-lost figure of £13,452. BMW is normally noted for strong residuals, but with a new 3-series coupe out this year the 318 Ci suffers. With an RV of 37%, expect it to lose £14,802. The 407 Coupe has a poor RV for the sector – at 32% it will lose £16,368.
Alfa Romeo 22.37ppm
THE 3-series wins on wholelife costs, although this is solely down to being much cheaper on fuel than the others – not surprising as it’s the least powerful car here.The Alfa’s strong RV does it plenty of favours, and will cost £24,678, or 41.13ppm, over the same cycle. The Mazda’s thirst for petrol hinders its challenge, while depreciation hits the Peugeot, with the result that it would cost £26,586 to run.
Alfa Romeo 41.13ppm
EMISSIONS AND BIK TAX RATES
THE 3-series is miles ahead of its rivals on emissions, falling into the 23% benefit-in-kind tax band while all of its rivals are 30% or above. For a 40% taxpayer the 318 Ci will cost £181 a month in company car tax. The remaining trio are much more expensive. The Peugeot brings with it a monthly bill of £240 while the Alfa will cost £251 and the RX-8 £264. However, at this level company car tax is not the sole choice factor – image here is very important.
Alfa Romeo 221g/km/31%
DESPITE being well-equipped and comfortable the Peugeot lags behind on wholelife costs, which leaves the BMW, Mazda and Alfa Romeo. The 318 Ci will soon be replaced by a new model and it lacks the power to compete here, while the Mazda has high tax bills and running costs. The Brera blends striking looks with reasonable running costs. Even a relatively high tax bill probably won’t deter drivers.
Peugeot 407 Coupe 2.2 SE
Delivered price, standard car (P11D value): £23,997
CO2 emissions (g/km): 219
BIK % of P11D in 2006: 30%
Graduated VED rate: £190
Insurance group: 15
Combined mpg: 30.7
CAP Monitor residual value: £7,625/32%
Depreciation 27.28 pence per mile x 60,000: £16,368
Maintenance 3.04 pence per mile x 60,000: £1,824
Fuel 13.99 pence per mile x 60,000: £8,394
Wholelife cost 44.31 pence per mile x 60,000: £26,586
Typical contract hire rate: £517
At a glance
We don’t like: