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First drive: Peugeot 407 coupé – on sale now



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One look at the TV adverts currently promoting the new Peugeot 407 coupé leaves you in no doubt about who this car is aimed at – men.

Although the company stops short of emulating chocolate maker Yorkie’s ‘not for girls’ proclamation, it believes the car’s size and styling represents clear masculine values. Hence the ‘Men are back’ strapline.

Peugeot is confident the 407 coupé will sell to these men without list price discounts. It comes loaded with equipment – just three options are priced out: metallic paint, front parking aid and sat-nav – while supply is limited by production capacity to 2,500 in the UK.

Sales of the ageing 406 coupé predecessor have been on the wane for the past few years since its peak in 1998 (2,816 units), as new rivals like the Nissan 350Z and Mazda RX-8 win over customers. These models have also helped to grow the market, particularly for user-choosers, and Peugeot believes its sales expectations are well within dealers’ reach. It also hopes to exceed the residuals estimates of around 36-38%, which is below its main rivals.

“We are playing on our exclusivity,” says PR manager Kevin Jones. “The coupé will be very well specified at a fixed price – that’s what customers want in the centre ground.”

Buyers choose from three trim levels – S, SE and GT – and three engines: 2.2-litre and 3.0-litre V6 petrols, and a 2.7-litre V6 HDi diesel. A smaller diesel might be added towards the end of the year, but depends on forecast demand.

The 205bhp, 330lb ft diesel, priced from £29,200, is superb, offering smooth, powerful delivery with an exceptionally quiet drive. The six-speed automatic, from the 407, is arguably the smoothest ’box Peugeot has ever produced.

The sharp handling and solid performance needs commending. However, the 407 coupé sits in a very competitive market dominated by Toyota Celica, BMW 3-series coupé, Audi TT and the aforementioned Nissan 350Z and Mazda RX-8.

One plus point for retailers to focus on is the amount of space for passengers, particularly in the back, which seats two adults in comfort. Thanks to a 58mm increase in length over the 406, to 1,720mm, the 407 coupé is a man-sized four-seater.

Strengths: Auto ’box, styling, diesel
Weakness:Residuals below rivals
Opportunity: Halo for dealers, much needed sales booth
Threat: Dominant rivals
The USP: Coupé with French flair
Price: £21,900-30,900
Engines: 2.2 163bhp, 3.0 211bhp V6, 2.7 205bhp V6 diesel
Transmission: Six-speed man/auto
Performance: 0-62mph: 8.4-9.2s; top speed: 138-151mph
Efficiency: 27.6-33.2mpg comb; 219-242g/km CO2
CAP RV: £8,175-9,850 (34-38%)
Rivals: Toyota Celica, BMW 3-series coupé, Audi TT, Nissan 350Z, Mazda RX-8

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