The 408 is an entirely new model for Peugeot that adds an innovative fastback design to its compact car range, which currently comprises the more conventional Peugeot 308 hatchback and Peugeot 3008 SUV.
Having made its European debut at the Paris motor show last month, the fastback is intended to marry the best of SUVs, hatchbacks and saloons by combining an aerodynamic, coupé-esque silhouette with ample space and good driving dynamics in a relatively compact package.
It is now on sale in the UK, priced from £31,050, ahead of customer deliveries getting under way in the first quarter of next year, with a total of four trim levels and three powertrains available from launch.
The entry-level Allure car gets a choice of a 128bhp 1.2-litre pure-petrol engine (the cheapest powertrain option) or a 178bhp plug-in hybrid at £38,400. The more powerful 222bhp PHEV option becomes available from Allure Premium trim upwards, from £40,725.
Capping the line-up is the £45,000 First Edition car, which went on sale last month with bespoke design elements, a raft of options as standard and a limited 50-unit build run.
The petrol engine will be replaced with a mild-hybrid unit by the end of 2023 and an electric e-408 will follow, although a date for that isn’t yet confirmed.
The 408 sits on the same EMP2 modular platform as the 308. At 4690mm long and 1480mm tall, it is a significant 440mm longer and almost 40mm higher than the 308. The final product was seven years in the making, because it was considered quite radical at its inception and apparently took some convincing at board level.
Design project manager Pierre-Paul Mattei revealed that giving the car “dynamism without hiding the fact that it’s roomy” was a hurdle.
“A classical fastback – the Peugeot 508, for example – starts to drop the car’s top line at the B-pillar, but here it’s the back of the rear door, which makes rear access and space better,” explained Mattei.
The front grille is reminiscent of the current Peugeot range but modernises it, introducing a vertical body-colour pattern in which the blocks of colour get bigger towards the edges.