French coupés. An evocative phrase. You can almost taste the fag butts on the floor of a filthy Parisian café. Peugeot has done a few coupés in its time. Interestingly, however, the two most memorable ones of recent-ish times weren’t really French. They were Italian. First there was the effortlessly elegant Pininfarina-penned 504 Coupé from the 1970s and early 1980s. They’re now well into the five-figure price bracket, or twice that for Convertible versions.
Then there’s the one that most Shed readers will remember, if only because it has appeared more than once in this column – the 1997 406 Coupé, another sharp-suited Pininfarina effort that graced European boulevards up until 2004.
By that time the 406 had come to an end, Peugeot had decided it didn't want any more help from the Italians in creating its next two-door four-seater. The resulting 407 Coupe, launched in 2005, was an entirely home-brewed product. Because Peugeot naturally wanted to make some money out of it, the Coupé had to be different from the 407 saloon in more ways than the bleedin’ obvious one of having two fewer doors. A price tag up to £7000 higher than that of the top spec 407 saloons was certainly a bold move to help deliver exclusivity – but what were the justifications for that, given that the Coupé had no posh design-house heritage?
Well, er, it was a bit longer than the 407 saloon. It also had a wider front track, ostensibly for better handling, but maybe also to save us punters from recoiling at the sight of what would otherwise have been an an uncomfortably narrow-looking coupe. How else could Peugeot justify the price differential? Exclusive engines, maybe? Tick that box, Gaston.
Two of the Coupé’s motor options weren’t available in the regular 407. One was PSA’s 2.9 ES, an old shoe of a petrol V6 that had seemed somewhat out of step with the times some eight years earlier when it made its debut in the 406 Coupé. The 211hp 407 Coupe 2.9 manual tipped the scales at 1,612kg (you could also get a 1,637kg auto). It ran the 0-62 in 8.4sec, topped out at 151mph and recorded an official combined mpg figure of 27.7.
The other Coupé-exclusive unit was the 210hp 2.7 V6 HDi diesel we have here. Again, a big-inch diesel seemed like a slightly queer choice for an elegant coop in the heavily ecology-conscious mid-2000s. In a car weighing a hefty 1,725kg it delivered a 0-62mph time of 8.7sec, a top whack of 143mph and combined fuel consumption of 33.2mpg.
The rest of the justification for the Coupe’s £7000 premium was a lush specification that, in the GT model we’ve lassoed here, included hand-stitched leather, sat nav, cruise, climate control, heated seats, aluminium cabin trim panels and parking sensors at both ends.
Sadly for Peugeot it soon became obvious to anyone reading the contemporary road tests that the only vaguely sensible Coupé was the decidedly un-exclusive 163hp 2.2 petrol. Weighing in at 1,525kg, it wasn’t much slower than the dino-motored versions (0-62mph in 9.2sec, top speed 138mph) and it was considerably less demanding when it came to company car tax payments. Unfortunately, the 2.2 only managed to shrug off that £7k Coupé premium by being much more miserably equipped, so it was no more of a sales hit than any other Coupé.
Nine years after the 407 Coupé died, the 24-valve 2.7 V6 diesel now comes across as a rather intriguing old thing. Remember that this intercooled twin-Garrett engine was also put to good use in Jaguar S-types, XFs and XJs. It’s a gutsy (325lb ft) and mechanically strong unit. It’s no lightweight though, so in the 407 it will put stress on the double-wishbone front suspension and the steering components. It also has a DPF, so if you’re lounging around in it you run the risk of bunging it up wfluid onto the offside front tyre. Tyre pressure sensors go west too, and the electrical comfort features will need monitoring but otherwise these Coupés hold up well enough on the reliability front.
This car would have been just short of £31k new. £1,250 now for a lowish-mileage example (albeit in Boring Silver and in need of a bit of a spruce up) seems like a decent shout. The MOT runs out at the end of the month but there were no advisories on last year’s ticket and the road tax isn’t too tragic at £325 a year. These Coupés are not a stellar drive but they’re strongly built and they’re a bit different. Maybe that’s enough on its own to warrant further beard strokage.