11 December 2003

The new 407 is unveiled at last - and Peugeot is finally ready to talk about its new Mondeo rival. Autocar has published undisguised spy photos on three occasions in 2003, but this is the first official view.

Product chief Bruno de Guibert claims that Peugeot's emphasis on style will outlive rivals' gimmicky design, claiming that Ford and Vauxhall were obsessed with copying the Germans rather than forging their own design language.

'The market has been dominated by the Passat, and the Mondeo and Vectra are attempts to copy the VW,' he said. 'They don't sell and so we didn't copy the Passat. We wanted our own personality.'

The new 407 appears to have carved a look of its own. Design chief Gerard Welter claimed that buyers now want 'character and status' rather than MPV-style space.

'The rear window line has a similar feel to the Ferrari 250 short wheelbase,' he said. 'We used a similar design on the 205 GTi.'

At 4676mm long and 1811mm wide, the 407 is bigger than the outgoing 406. Petrol engines at launch next spring include 117bhp 1.8, 136bhp 2.0, 160bhp 2.2 and 211bhp 3.0 V6. Diesel HDi choices are 110bhp 1.6 and 136bhp 2.0.

Expect prices from £15k for the saloon pictured. Estates, badged SW, arrive in summer '04; a coupé will follow in '05.

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