Autopolis

The cars we loved.

1997-2003 Peugeot 406 Coupe:French Elegance and Italian Beauty For the Masses


2003 Peugeot 406 Coupe

2003 Peugeot 406 Coupe 3.0

Peugeot is one of the oldest car producers in the world, dating back to the late 1800’s. The innovative engineering and technical efficiency associated Peugeots seldom conjures imagery of  beautifully designed cars, but when French Flair is matched with Italian beauty, the end result can be stunning. One example of this union occurred in the late 90’s with the Italian designed Peugeot 406 Coupe.

1997 Peugeot 406 Coupe 3.0

1997 Peugeot 406 Coupe 3.0

First shown at the 1996 Paris Motorshow, the sleek concept was very close to the final production car. The Peugeots 406 sedan was the mechanical basis for the coupe, but shared no exterior body panels. Where the sedan was stodgy and upright, the coupe featured a graceful design that made the 406 appear far more expensive than it was. The body was designed and built by Pininfarina to Peugeots specifications.  Mechanically, the 406 Coupe had a rather conventional McPherson strut front suspension and rear multi-link setup. Transmission choices included a 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic. Inside, many of the interior components of the sedan were reused, with the exception of the seats which were leather Recardos configured in a true 2 + 2 setup. The dash had brush aluminum accents, contributing to a clean efficient look to the interior.

406 Coupe Interior

406 Coupe Interior

The Coupe was initially offered in two basic trim levels featuring a 4 and 6 cylinder gasoline engine.  Even the base car was loaded with standard options including rain –sensitive wipers, air conditioning and power windows/locks. With around 140 hp in the 2.0L 4-cylinder the 406 offered adequate performance and a softer tuned ride on 16 in wheels. For those wanting more performance the 406 was available with a 3.0 L 24 valve V6 that produced close to 200 hp. Even in this configuration the 406 was never intended to be a performance car, but proved to be a more than capable GT with a top speed of 140 mph and a 0 to 60 time of under 8 seconds.

The 406 Coupe was also very efficient when paired with Peugeots advanced common rail 2.2 L HDi diesel engine, an available option after 1999 . It produced 131 hp, but had more torque than the larger V6. The 406 sedan received a major overhaul in 1999, while the Coupe eventually got a slightly revised front end and rear diffuser. Mechanically, it stayed pretty much the same save for the new diesel engine option. The 406 Coupe was very successful, especially in England where the largest 406 Coupe Club in Europe resides. Part of the reason for the popularity of the 406 Coupe was that it comfortably sat in the middle between all out sporty cars like Honda’s RSX Type R and more refined GT oriented coupes like the BMW’s 3 series in Europe, while looking more upscale than either one at a lower or comparable price point.

Everyone seemed to love the 406 Coupe, especially the press. One outlet, the London Herald, went so far as to declare that the 406 Coupe would become a modern classic. Resale values would seem to support this as the 406 Coupe retains almost as much of it’s initial value as the BMW 3 Series, one of the leading cars in it’s class in Europe. Sadly the 406 Coupe was never exported to the US, as Peugeot had given up on the American market in the early 90’s. The replacement  407 Coupe, designed in-house by Peugeot was more performance oriented, but lacked the graceful curves of the 406, even though it’s design was clearly derivative of it.

1998 Peugeot 406 Coupe 2.0

1998 Peugeot 406 Coupe 2.0

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2 comments on “1997-2003 Peugeot 406 Coupe:French Elegance and Italian Beauty For the Masses

  1. Isobel
    December 25, 2012

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your blog. You have some really good posts and I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some articles for your blog in
    exchange for a link back to mine. Please blast me an e-mail if interested.

    Many thanks!

    • autopolis
      December 28, 2012

      Thanks for the offer, I will probaly scale down the number of entries to one a week as the year goes on. I’m getting close to having written about nearly every car I have ever liked (that I know about). After that I will practice my writing on some other subject, like music maybe.

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This entry was posted on August 13, 2010 by in 00's, 90's cars, Peugeot and tagged , , , .
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