By Breda Corrigan
The all-new PEUGEOT 408 is a “dynamic fastback” saloon that sits between the 3008 SUV and 508 large family saloon is PEUGEOT’s impressive model line-up. This new-age offering from PEUGEOT possesses a sporty feline stance and unique allure, with engineering excellence focused on efficiency and intelligent electrification, as well as the emotions provided by cutting-edge technologies dedicated to driving pleasure and instinctive use. Aerodynamic efficiency is maximised due to the sleek silhouette of the new 408, and it empowers the car with unmistakable style.
Well-Proven Engine Tech.
While the design of the new 408 breaks new ground for the French brand, the recipe underneath is based on well-proven technology. The car sits on the latest evolution of the EMP2 platform, and the range of engines powering the new 408 includes two plug-in hybrid (PHEV) versions with 180bhp and 225bhp, and a 130bhp petrol version, with a fully-electric version of the new 408 due to be launched in the near future. All engines are coupled exclusively to an eight-speed automatic (EAT8) transmission for enhanced driving pleasure.
The new 408 is available in Allure, Allure Pack and sporty GT trim levels across all powerplant options, with the Hybrid 225 available exclusively in GT trim. The feline stance of the car is enhanced by its sharp lines and dynamic curves, while the dynamic front grille (body-coloured on GT spec versions) blends perfectly with the front end design, and it wears the new PEUGEOT brand logo with pride. The inverted cut-out design of the rear bumper provides a strong and sporty look to the rear profile. Additional design highlights include the fang-shaped light signature at the front and three-claw LED lights at the rear.
Superb Comfort, Superb Space.
The dashboard design is shared with the magnificent 308, so excellent build quality is a given. The 408 comes with PEUGEOT’s latest infotainment system across the range, and it is now more intuitive than ever. A second touch panel below the infotainment screen can be customised to offer selected shortcut options, making it easier for the driver to select popular functions when on the move. The 408’s compact steering wheel forms part of the latest generation PEUGEOT i-Cockpit™ and it provides the driver with ease of drivability and controlled agility. Within the spacious cockpit, the emphasis is on quality and connectivity, while the very latest driver assistance systems make the driving and travelling experience more intuitive and rewarding. With an overall length of 4.69m and a long wheelbase of 2.79m, the new 408 has a remarkably spacious second row, with 188mm of legroom on offer, enabling up to 5 occupants to travel in supreme comfort. Boot space is equally impressive, with 536-litres available behind the rear seats, and up to 1,611-litres available when the rear seats are folded down. Additionally, numerous storage areas on the central console enable occupants to safely store their odds and ends out of harm’s way.
Test Car Details.
My test car was a PEUGEOT 408 GT 1.2 PureTech 130bhp, which attracted many admiring glances in its Nera Black metallic paintwork and 19-inch ‘Graphite’ diamond-cut Onyx Black Gloss alloy wheels. Key standard GT equipment includes a Peugeot 3D i-Cockpit panel, Driver Sport Pack, heated steering wheel, full-grain leather steering wheel with green stitching and GT badging, Alcantara/leather-effect/cloth Tri-Material upholstery, black roof lining, Lion emblem badging on front wings, body-coloured front grille, lower body sills to the front and side, Full Matrix LED headlights, LED ‘claw-effect’ rear lights with sequential ‘welcome sequence’ upon unlocking the car, and LED glovebox lighting. All of this is in addition to the comprehensive list of standard comfort, convenience, infotainment and safety systems found in the Allure and Allure Pack models. On the road, the new 408 PureTech 130 feels sprightly, sporty and thoroughly engaging, and it copes well with rutted road surfaces and speed ramps too. The standard Drive Assist Pack in my test car provided terrific peace-of-mind when on the go, and it consists of Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, and Long Range Active Blind Spot Detection, along with Active Safety Brake with night function for the detection of cyclists and pedestrians.
The 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine in my test car came with discreet steering wheel-mounted gear change paddles that provided a dash of sportiness. Producing 130bhp and 230Nm of torque, the sweet-revving petrol power plant provides the car with the ability to sprint from 0-100km/h in just over 10 seconds, while the top speed stands at 208km/h (where permitted). A drive mode selector gives access to Eco, Normal and Sport modes, with the latter adding more weight to the steering and allowing the car to hold on to gears for longer when accelerating. The relatively light steering makes the car easy to manoeuvre at low speeds, and the 8-speed automatic transmission is a joy to use. It does have a tendency to drop a ratio or two under harsh acceleration, sending the revs soaring in the process, but the engine sound never becomes unpleasant or overbearing. Drivers who adopt a measured approach with regard to acceleration will reap the benefit of a dignified and calm driving experience. On a WLTP combined driving cycle, the car is capable of consuming as little as 5.9 litres of petrol for every 100km driven, and a Co2 emission figure of 136g/km leads to annual road tax of just €210.
Verdict, Pricing & Warranty.
The new PEUGEOT 408 is a hugely-impressive car that is sure to appeal to drivers who don’t like the idea of an SUV, or those who need more cabin and boot space than the equally-impressive new 308 has to offer. The striking shape of the new 408 is characterised by its dynamic inspirational Fastback stance. Its modern elegance makes it stand out on the road, and with ground clearance raised but height contained, its sporty design and fluid lines emphasise its aerodynamic qualities. Pricing starts at €39,995 for the 408 Allure PureTech 130, with my test car specification priced from €44,995. A five-year/100,000km warranty comes as standard.