Test: Peugeot 407 HDi Coupé
By Feann Torr - 27/Feb/2007
History will record that only a handful of years ago the idea of performance diesel car in
Australia would have been met with haughty laughter: "Yeah mate, and
Ford's gonna import the European Mondeo too," they'd say.
But as European
and Japanese automakers pour more investment dollars into diesel cars, more and
more of these interesting vehicles are making their way to Australia.
The diesel sales
charts would suggest that Australian new car buyers are embracing the
increasing range of diesel passenger cars, but the performance diesel?
Well, it's still a bit of unknown in this country.
One such example of the new breed of performance oil-burners is the Peugeot 407 HDi Coupé,
which is underpinned by a strong 2.7-litre twin turbo V6 diesel engine, and together with a sports
chassis and an array of sporty features, this is the kind of car that's
really going to impress the unconverted.
it's price may be a bitter pill for some buyers to swallow, bear with
me for a moment. For
a start, this is one of the sexiest French cars ever built. The photos
don't do this European grand tourer justice - seeing the car in action
is another thing entirely. Forgetting
for a moment that beneath its long sculpted bonnet rests an engine
that churns out 440Nm of torque (which is more than the Audi RS 4's
wild 4.2-litre V8), it's clear that Peugeot wanted to make
a statement with this car.
Few of the models that make up
Peugeot's current 2007 range could be accused of being thoughtless
or boring designs, and the 407 Coupé
takes the French automaker's design philosophy to another level
altogether, with sleek and sporty lines that will do for the motor
company in Australia what Anna Kournikova did for tennis patronage
But almost $73,000 is a fair wad of cash to be handing
over for something with only 2-doors, 4-seats and diesel engine... Or is
it? Let's find out:
Model: 407 Coupé HDi
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Engine: 2.7-litre, Vee 6-cylinder, biturbo, diesel
Safety: 7 airbags (driver and front passenger front & side, side curtain, and knee airbags), ABS,
Car Supplier: Peugeot Australia
The Peugeot 407 HDi Coupé has a very
sensuous design, but also has a some good
muscle in the form of a 440Nm turbo mill
Engine: Peugeot 2.7-litre Vee 6-cylinder Diesel
in France, the transversely mounted vee 6-cylinder diesel engine has a
2.7-litre (2720cc) capacity, and has a cast-iron engine block and
aluminium alloy heads. Quad overhead
per cylinder bank) actuate a total of 24-valves, or 4-valves per
direct injected diesel motor
has dual turbochargers and intercoolers to increase torque and power
levels and has a 67 litre fuel tank, which when driven softly can
translate to more than 850km travelled.
Fuel Consumption: 8.5L/100km
Max Power: 150kW @ 4000rpm
Max Torque: 440Nm @ 1900rpm
Max Speed: 230km/h
0-100km/h: 8.5 seconds
The luxury interior of the this Gallic
2-door is sumptuous, and there's a
decent amount of rear seat room too
something about the way that this French car looks that just works.
It's got a tremendously appealing design, with a long
coupe bodystyle and attractive 18-inch wheels. It has the essence of
Australia's home-grown hero, the Holden Monaro, albeit with a stronger
And judging from the
attention this thing attracted wherever it went, a lot of other humans
thought the same thing.
ensures that it's a very satisfying vehicle to drive, as everyone wants
to see what it is, and of course who is driving it. But beyond the
ego-massaging abilities of this European coupe, it's a very nice
car to drive.
The front-wheel drive 407 Coupé on test was fitted with a twin turbocharged diesel
engine which gives it effortless acceleration - you barely need to rev
the engine to extract decent performance - the likes of which
is far smoother than a conventional petrol engine. And then there's the
fact that these things are still quite rare vehicles in Australia, and
that gives the Pug an
increased level of intrigue: we encountered more than a few
interested people who asked what it was and how much it cost.
low roofline gives the car a sporty profile, which is accompanied by
the long bonnet, steeply raked windscreen and short rear end. The
proportions are of the traditional sports coupe mould and they work very well: long
front end, squat rear end - it's very suave.
Even with its long overhangs it presents a sumptuous image.
Peugeot talks about a
'feline' look, which is fair enough because they built it, but I don't
think it's overly cattish, just rather slinky and sporty with some nice
aerodynamic influences. I also like the triple strakes fore of the
front wheels that create a touch of fascination at the front,
attracting the eye.
even with its low roofline, the 407 Coupé
is remarkable roomy inside. Almost as large as the Holden Monaro (or
2006 Pontiac GTO if your an American reader), there's
plenty of room for four adults and their luggage, and there's
a sense of opulence too. Along with the high quality leather
upholstery and purposefully sporty front seats,
there's a premium 6-stacker CD stereo system and
aluminium accents along the doors, dash, and gear shifter.
seat passengers also benefit from their own air vents and some rather
funky grab handles in the rear. Overall, it's a very impressively
Being a coupe, the long doors are a inherently unwieldy, but on the
upside the electric seats are fairly quick at rolling aft on their
rails to allow rear seat access, and this allows easy
egress and ingress for rear seat passengers.
steering is quite chunky with some serious contours which make for a slightly more
involving drive, and there's separate cruise control and audio
behind the steering wheel spokes so you rarely need move your hands from the wheel -
though these auxiliary stalks do take a little getting used
instrument dials that provide the driver with all the necessary
information, such as road and engine speeds, are
clear cut and easy to read, and the J-gate gear shifter works, but isn't
the most intuitive of units with a sometimes confusing journey from park into
build quality is pretty good on the whole, and I didn't detect any
rattles or shakes in the interior (and that's with more than 10,000kms on the odometer), plus the exterior panel fittings
were very flush fitting which imparts a sense of high quality. It's not
quite as exacting as top tier German car, but if you want a 2-door
German coupe with similar performance and features you'd be paying a
is strictly a 4-seater vehicle, with two bucket seats up front and
another pair in the rear, all of which are heavily bolstered and nicely
contoured to provide snug seating for all, and they fare well over
longer distances too. If you're after a grand tourer that can do almost
a thousand kilometres per tank, this car would certainly fit the bill.
As well as the comfortable seats the car has a smooth and comfy ride, and though the 407 Coupé
may not be marketed as a luxury car it ticks almost all the boxes
that Mercedes and BMW drivers would look for.
and rear proximity parking sensors are standard features and will
improve your chances at keeping the body work scratch free, plus
there's plenty of airbags,
8-way electrically adjustable front seats and a 6-speed automatic
tiptronic shift, plus the a range of other standard features usually
found on luxury vehicles:
electric windows and mirrors
dual climate-control air-conditioning
leather bound steering wheel
monochromatic rear view mirror
rain sensing auto windscreen wipers
xenon headlights (with adaptive cornering system)
two-stage adjustable suspension (normal/sport)
last feature, the twin-stage suspension, is a real winner in my book, giving the
car two distinct personalities that ensure the car can adapt to
varying road conditions at the touch of a button.
mode the car exhibits a fairly supple ride, one which is well suited to
urban driving, daily commuting and other monotonous duties. In this
normal mode the damping rates are quite soft and manage to soak up the
majority of irregularities in the road, which was quite impressive
given that the car rides on sporty 18-inch rims shod with even sportier Pirelli P Zero tyres.
the adaptive damping system is always adjusting the rebound and
compression rates in normal mode, to counter the effects of "uneven
roads, high speed, obstacles, loaded vehicle" and so forth. In
Peugeot's words, the adaptive damping system "means that progression to
firmer patterns occurs very rapidly to achieve more energetic control
of pitch, bounce and roll movements under all driving conditions." In
the real world, you get a fairly smooth ride for the most part that
will rarely surprise you with big knocks or dips, but it's not quite as
silky smooth as some luxury cars.
the sport button the shock absorbers change over to their firmest
settings, which helps reduce body roll and pitch and also makes thing a
touch more responsive to steering input, and generally speaking it makes cornering a much more stable and
pushed hard in sports mode, the 407 Coupé won't wilt, and feels
sportier to than the 407 sedan and wagon variants. With a number
of aluminium suspension components, the car is fairly light on its
feet, and for a front-wheel drive vehicle it manages to involve the
pilot quite nicely, with decent feedback through the steering wheel,
plenty of grip through corners and enough torque to fire it out of
bends with a bit of zeal. Because it's a front-wheel drive vehicle, it's
not the most rewarding vehicle to drive hard on twisty sections of
road, but if you're not used to driving large engined V8s or nut-bag Audi RS 4s I reckon you'll find a lot to like here.
While the suspension is quite stiff in sports mode, and is well suited to hard driving, for mine the 18-inch wheels
shod with Pirelli P Zeros (our test car fitted with 245/40 R18 aspect ratio tyres) are the key to this cars dynamic
abilities. They supply the car with a good amounts of grip, and even though it's
pulling instead of pushing it feels quite tight through a corner, and
though it's obese mass will incite understeer at times it's far from chronic, and rarely
ruins the fun.
It's not as planted and as eager to accelerate
through corners as the
Monaro, but thanks to the Pirellis cornering grip is very good and it
never felt like the road was running out or it was pushing on its front
outside wheel too much.However, it tips into corners a little
ponderously if you go in with too much bravado, (thank the long front
overhang for that) but it's not terminal even under duress, just a
minor niggle, and once it has its line set the car can be pushed
brakes felt a
bit spongy at first, but to put it simply there's too much travel in
pedal. At the end of the day, the brakes are not terrible - and
not small either, with 330mm ventilated discs up front and 290mm
vented discs at the rear - and do a
decent job of washing off speed, but I wouldn't go as far to call them
And then there's the diesel engine with its twin
turbochargers. It generates a potent 440Nm of torque,
which gives the car its heart. At first, I
drove the car like a petrol model: the lights go green and naturally
my foot went to the floor, to rev out the
engine. And you know what? I was disappointed. It felt somewhat
flat and the about three hundred of the 440 Newton metres felt like they were in
course of a couple of days I began to understand the nuances of the
twin turbo diesel a lot better, and rather than revving the engine out to
4500rpm, the trick to rapid acceleration was to use part
throttle applications, keeping the revs below 3000rpm, where all the
torque is generated; peak torque hits @ 1900rpm after all.
Driven like this, the 407 Coupe is
immensely capable, and feels incredibly strong. It really suits the
car's luxury personality too. And like all turbo diesel engines it has a far more more subtle and smooth
power delivery than a petrol engine, the latter of which usually relies on top end power. And
the best part? That's when you get home after a morning sprinting
through the hills and the fuel gauge still reads three quarters full -
bloody frugal! We used three quarters of a tank and covered more
than 500km, and large portion of that was on winding roads at
(which is actually half throttle in diesel terms).
Peugeot claims a 0-100km/h time of 8.5 seconds which isn't lightning quick, but is far from slow.
automatic transmission is different than the unit that BMW, Ford, Audi
et al use, sourced from Japan instead of Germany. The Aisin 6-speeder
isn't quite as intelligent nor are the shifts as quick and precise as
the ZF gearbox used by the mentioned marques, but that doesn't mean
it's a pile of crap. It gets the job done and and deals with the twin
turbo diesel engine's high levels of torque quite well, and is seldom
left searching for gears when you floor the throttle, deciding on one
and running with it.
On the road it's an
easy car to pilot, with truck loads of torque down low, a 6-speed auto
and relaxed steering. The long dashboard can be disconcerting at first,
and the A-pillars can obstruct your view of the road,
particularly when turning/looking right, but these things are not deal
breakers, and only leave a slight blemish on the cars overall ease of
speaking, this is one of the most relaxed and easy cars to drive in
everyday situations. To the shops, to work, to mums place - it's all so
easy. The engine has huge reserves of power (even small throttle inputs
result in big torque) and the car is easy to steer, and there's a
palpable sense of comfort that runs through almost every facet of
the car, from its ride, to its seats and standard features.
It's massively sloped windscreens means it cuts through the air quite
easily as well, and is rather quiet when highway cruising, not to mention ludicrously frugal.
you like the look of Peugeot's 407, but don't have a family or any need
for utility, this car will certainly pique your interest. It's the kind
of vehicle that instantly attracts attention, and for pure pose value
you are getting very good bang for your buck with this one.
five-hundred dollars is a fair wad of cash to lay on the table for a
diesel-powered car, but a diesel-powered sports car with looks that would draw envy from a top fashion model?
may still be out among the masses, I reckon the idea of a diesel
sports car is a great one, and the more time I spent getting to
know this vehicle, the more I grew to enjoy it. Taking 8.5 seconds to
accelerate from standstill to 100km/h may not be considered sports car
quick, but it looks the part, and handles very nicely for something so
engine is pretty good, with heaps of power and a good 6-speed auto
gearbox, and though some drivers may find the prospect of a
diesel-powered sports car hard to swallow, the fact of the matter is
that it does a very good job, particularly with its adaptive
damping/suspension control. And of course the fuel consumption is a
very good reason to give diesel a go.
Though the price-tag
may be a sticking point, I think it is justified for this built-in-France car. With adaptive
suspension, an immaculate leather cabin, a good selection
of luxury features, not to mention a comfy and roomy interior,
there's a lot to like here. And have you seen this French
sportster in flesh? It looks a lot more exotic than it is, which is something you can't easily put a price on.
- Biturbo V6 Engine
- Exotic Design
- Adaptive Suspension
- Luxury Interior
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