Currently reading: Spring launch for svelte 407

Peugeot’s 407 will go on sale in Britain sooner than expected – our spies captured engineers piling on the test miles in Sierra Nevada, Spain, in preparation for the launch next spring.

The 406 replacement will be sold in three bodystyles: a traditional saloon from May 2004; a sporty estate badged SW to arrive later in the summer; and a curvy coupé due in 2005.

Our scoop photo above reveals the estate, which is being touted as an Alfa Sportwagon rival with the emphasis on looks over outright luggage space.

The 407 will draw heavily on the 407 Elixir concept unveiled at last month’s Frankfurt Motor Show. In particular, the front end will make it to production virtually unchanged, with large ‘lion’ badge and mouth-like air intake.

Officials claim the Elixir combines body panels from all three bodystyles, with the rakish A-pillar of the coupé, the estate’s rear end and the saloon’s nose. However, the glass roof on the concept will be replaced by a conventional steel lid.

Underpinning the 407 will be the PSA Peugeot Citroën large-car platform as used by the C5. However, the Peugeot will be different to drive, say insiders, thanks to double-wishbone front suspension and other changes.

A large range of engines will be offered, including 1.6, 1.8, 2.0 and 3.0 V6 petrols and 2.0 and 2.7 V6 common-rail diesels.

Expect prices from £15,000 and a specification likely to include six-speed gearboxes, knee airbags and electric tailgate.

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