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.
Unrelated to the Chinese-market 408 small saloon, 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.
Due at the start of 2023, 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.
Mattei said this new grille plays to the next generation of electrified cars and is likely to be used again in future.
The interior was developed alongside the 308 – “our job was to balance making it the 408 but with the best bits of the 308”, said Mattei. It features Peugeot’s latest i-Cockpit layout, including a digital dial display and a 10.0in infotainment touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and has extended storage space.