2.2 litre engine, 6-speed gearbox, 8 air-bags,

ABS, EBA, ASR, EBFD, DSC...  What more could anyone want?

This was my first ever test in a Peugeot of any sort... so, while I was waiting for the car to be prepared, I sat and had a cup of tea. Looking through the brochure of the 407 (which incidentally is also one of the eight finalists nominated for the 2005 Car-Of-The-Year award), the headline "You're about to experience things differently" got me thinking... yeah, the French do do things differently. Like the Italians, they just seem to have a different flair, a different angle. Since the first time I saw the wide-mouthed 407 I liked the look of it, now I got to drive one. And I wasn't disappointed.

The distinguished, bold, front styling of the Peugeot 407 reveals a new identity for the French marque, based on the unique and highly individualised large air intake and large headlamps. The effect is balanced through a long bonnet and a compact rear that projects the passenger compartment forward, and is rounded off by 2.75m² of glass surface. Maybe the styling of the 407 is best contained in the words of Gérard Welter, Director of the Centre of Style Peugeot: “A lot of people must have dreamt of a car like this, and now they are going to be able to have one and enjoy it. When they asked me to work on the 407, the key words were style, elegance, status, and above all, dynamism and modernity. 407 had to give its owner more satisfaction than an average modern saloon so that they would want to own it as soon as they saw it. When I look at the end result, I can see that we have achieved that quality of seduction and aesthetics, especially at the front end.”

With its sleek and slender lines and large inclined windscreen, the 407 has already been described by some as one of the most beautiful cars ever to come from France, and undoubtedly turn heads on any piece of South African tarmac.

But the 407 is not only about good looks. The structure and platform was designed to meet the ambitious requirements of driving pleasure and safety. The body has high rigidity that ensures optimum performance of the suspension and enhances road holding and active safety.

Our test vehicle was the 2.2 ST Sport. Good performance, easy to use, economic and a pleasure to drive.

The 2.2-litre engine is powerful, developing 116kW of maximum power at 5650 rpm and maximum torque of 217Nm at 3900 rpm. The availability of its maximum torque at a low engine speed at just 2000 rpm means the 407 will accelerate strongly without having to overwork the 6-speed manual gearbox. To achieve good torque at low engine speeds, the intake camshaft is equipped with a variable timing camshaft.

A jewel as far as gearboxes are concerned, this 6-speed unit makes use of latest innovative technology, resulting in a lightweight and compact gearbox.

Engineers at Peugeot in France aimed at creating a vehicle that will raise the standards in all departments. Besides its modern and dynamic design, and willing engine, the 407 sets the standard in it's class when it comes to aspects such as safety, drivability, comfort and technology.

The stately 407 parked outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

To minimize the consequences of a frontal impact, the long aluminium subframe dissipates energy and allows the forces to be distributed along the top and the bottom of the car while the steering column collapses to get out of the way. The body is also reinforced to withstand side impacts in order for the passengers to enjoy high levels of protection. The interior of the 407 is also equipped with a host of airbags from front driver and passenger airbags to a steering column airbag, side airbags in the seats, and side curtain airbags. Seatbelts have pre-tensioners with load limiters. All these safety features combined allowed the 407 to achieve 5 stars in the stringent European NCAP safety ratings.

Technology in the vehicle’s structure, wheels and suspension further ensures that it drives as well as it looks. The suspension setup results in high quality directional road holding under all circumstances which consists of a dual wishbone front axle with drop link, and an integral multi-arm rear suspension with inclined spring and damper assemblies. The 407 is equipped with “in-house” dampers at the front and rear, renowned for their optimum road holding and dynamic comfort. Peugeot have developed different power steering systems in order to achieve the best possible power steering and engine combination, in conjunction with each model’s tyre sizes and specification level. The 2.2-litre engines makes use of a electro-hydraulic power steering system that is controlled by to the speed of the car and the speed of rotation of the steering wheel. The result is better comfort in all circumstances, ranging from parking to driving at low or high speed, in a straight line or around tight corners.

Stopping power comes from four large discs, with the front two ventilated. The 407 features anti-lock braking systems with electronic brake distribution for each wheel. In addition, the 407 is equipped with emergency braking assistance, and the latest generation Electronic Stability Programme, combining all the technology of ABS, traction control, stability control, and the emergency braking assistance. In the event of sudden braking, the hazard warning lights will automatically activate to warn following motorists of possible danger.

As a source of safety for the driver and comfort for all passengers, air-conditioning has become essential on a car in sunny South Africa. The automatic climate control fitted to the 407 will meet all your comfort needs (the air-con even operates inside the glove-box), such as a gentle distribution vent, a moisture sensor that avoids the occurrence of misting in the cabin, and an external control compressor that immediately provides the right amount of cold air considered necessary. In addition, a pollen filter combined with active charcoal further isolates the cabin from pollen, dust, and fuel odours.

In keeping with Peugeot’s tradition of offerings cars with high specification levels, the 407 is equipped with additional luxuries and comfort features such as automatic headlights, automatic windscreen wipers with rain sensors, electric foldaway rearview mirrors, a state-of-the-art sound system, an on-board computer, tyre pressure sensors with warning on the instrument panel, and follow-me-home lights. The 2.2 ST Sport version gets electrically operated front seats, rear parking sensors, and interior with leather trim.

There's no doubt that people with strong motoring values and who seek pleasure through driving will be attracted by the good looks and innovative technology that the 407 offers. Peugeot offers a 3-year/100 000km factory warranty, and 5-year/100 000km full maintenance plan. Service intervals are set at 30 000km.

Enough power, just not enough road... I'm sure I could have got the needle past 210 on a longer, open road.

Check out the Cruise Control, preset to 250kph. That's just me... the eternal optimist.   Kenn Slater.



Engine:   Type EW12 J4 / Euro4

Cylinders:   4

Capacity (cm³):   2230

Bore and stroke:   86 x 96mm

Compression ratio:   10.8 : 1

Valvegear:   DOHC 16 VTC

Engine management system:  Magneti-Marelli 4MP

Maximum power (kW @ rpm):  116 @ 5650

Maximum torque (Nm @ rpm):  217 @ 3900

Gearbox:   Number of Gears:  6

Gear ratios:

1st    -   0.3250

2nd   -   0.5610

3rd    -   0.8378

4th    -   1.1082

5th    -   1.3636

6th    -   1.5454

Reverse   -   0.3171

Speed:   Maximum speed (km/h): 220

0 – 100 km/h (seconds):   10.1

0 – 1000 metres (seconds):   31.5

Fuel Consumption:   Urban (l/100km) - 12.9,   Open road - 6.8,   Mixed 9.0.   CO2 emissions (g/km): 214

Fuel tank (liters):   66

Steering:   Type: Rack and pinion. Electro-hydraulic power steering controlled according to vehicle speed and speed of steering wheel rotation.

Brakes:   Front: Ventilated discs - 330mm. Rear: Non-ventilated discs - 290mm. With ABS, traction control, emergency braking assistance, stability control.

Wheels:   Size: 7.0 J 17 alloy.  Tyres: 215/55 R17 W  -  Full size spare wheel.

Dry Mass (kg):   1480

Safety features: ABS with electronic brake force distribution, Collapsible steering column, Electronic stability programme, Front and rear curtain airbags, Front driver and passenger head airbags, Front driver and passenger lateral airbags, Steering column airbag, Tyre pressure sensors and Fog lights (to be used in Fog ONLY, not on a clear summer's night).

Comfort and driving: Air-conditioning with climate control, Anti-theft alarm, Automatic windscreen wipers with rain sensor, Cruise control, Electric windows, Electric exterior mirrors, Electric folding exterior mirrors, Follow me home lights (especially for Verna), Height and depth adjustable steering wheel, Rear sunblind, On-board computer, Radio and front loading 6-shuttle CD-player, Electric adjustable front seats, Electrochrome rear view mirror and Rear parking sensors.

Warranty and Maintenance: 3-year/100 000km, Peugeot 5-year/ 100 000km maintenance plan, Service intervals: 30,000km

Price: R249,900 (March 2005)


Thanks to Jason Jones and the guys at Southern Peugeot (opposite The Glen shopping center, Johannesburg) for the drive in their prestigious, sleek, head-turning Peugeot 407 2.2 ST Sport.