Peugeot 407: The Lion Roars Again; Peugeot Has a Long History in African Markets, and the Overdue Launch of the New 407 Model Will Be Welcome News for the Company's Many Loyal Customers. Stephen Williams Reports
Williams, Stephen, African Business
The long-awaited replacement for Peugeot's popular 406 series, the Peugeot 407, is set for launch later this year. First to appear in Peugeot showrooms will be a traditional four-door saloon variant, with a stylish estate car following next year.
At 4.67m, the saloon will be substantially longer than the 406 model it replaces; and Peugeot are promising a number of clever innovations and equipment--especially to enhance driver and passenger comfort.
Built on a modified version of the mid- and upper-size platform that PSA Peugeot-Citroen have developed for a whole raft of new cars--and have already used for the Citroen C5--Peugeot have gone the route of most volume producers by taking advantage of the weight saving benefits of aluminium. They have used this metal for various body panels and many of the suspension components both front and rear.
Styling is not particularly radical, apart from the large diameter wheels and the striking front end which features a huge 'open mouth' air intake grille beneath the prominent badge and wide headlights.
Nevertheless, no one can argue that the car does not strike an elegant and purposeful pose. The 407's long bonnet and steeply raked windscreen flows into the harmonious curve of the roof and sweeps back to a compact rear quarter. It adds up to aerodynamic Cd rating figure of 0.29 against the old 406 model's 0.32
But there are some surprises under the skin. For the first time in Peugeot's history they have decided to opt for a double wishbone suspension unit on the 407's front axle. On the rear axle, the latest generation multi-arm suspension still features dampers that are, in Peugeot tradition, inclined rearwards to optimise boot space.
Peugeot will be offering different engines and transmissions for different markets. The most common unit will be the entry level 1.8lt 16v petrol unit linked to a five-speed manual gearbox; then a 2lt 16v petrol unit fitted with the same five-speed, or a four-speed Porsche type Tiptronic auto gearbox. Up again in capacity is the 2.2lt unit twinned with the same Tiptronic gearbox--and top of the petrol power list is a 3lt V6 with variable valve timing and an all new six-speed Tiptronic gearbox.
Peugeot's long tradition of building diesel engines, being the first manufacturer to mass produce an oil-burning engine for its 403 passenger car back in 1959, means that naturally the 407 will initially feature a choice of two modern Hdi diesel engines. There's an all new 1.6lt turbo combined with a five-speed manual gearbox, or a 2lt Hdi turbo with a six-speed manual gearbox. Both engines feature Peugeot's new 'overboost' system.
Peugeot are recognised as world leaders in diesel technology and in 2000 they were the first company to fit a diesel particulate filter to a production car--the Peugeot 607. Although officially yet to be confirmed, company sources believe that PSA Peugeot-Citroen are ready to take another technological leap forward and fit its new maintenance-free particulate filter unit to the diesel powered 407s. They are also co-developing with Ford their first V6 diesel, a 2.7lt unit engine that will be fitted to the 407 as well as future Land Rover, Jaguar and Citroen models.
Thanks to those big wheels, the 407 can rely on large diameter disc brakes for stopping power. Other active safety specifications include a new-generation ESP (electronic stability programme) as standard on all models. This system comprises an anti-skid function, ABS, emergency brake assist, individual wheel brake force distribution and a stability control system.
On the passive safety front, the new car will be equipped with active anti-whiplash head restraints and a total of nine airbags, the front adaptive airbags coupled with pretensioning seat belts and a force limiter.
From the outset, one of the Peugeot designers' main briefs was to create for the 407 a vehicle interior that created a sense of calm and serenity for its occupants. …