|It was a professional monk, failed teacher, and trained beekeeper, who first discovered and recorded that you could mix and match certain traits in plants which allowed you in a way to “engineer” a better plant. Many peers of Gregor Mendel’s day didn’t think much of his studies, but if he were alive today, he would have been proud that his principles are in use in agriculture mainly, and to an extent, the automotive industry.|
It might not be a leafy green shoot, but the 408 Turbo you see here, shares a lot in common with the 308 Turbo hatchback. Its headlights, front half of the body, cabin and all its trimmings inside, and drivetrain are shared with the range topping 308, but that is no bad thing.
As far as the 308 Turbo goes, it is a very good all round car, it has exemplary levels of sound insulation, comfortable, imbued with high-speed stability, silky smooth and punchy drivetrain, good amount of headroom and visibility, and a stylish cabin. And yet, there is room for more, or shall we say more practicality to be added to the 308 formula, and that comes in the form of a boot and 10cm spliced into the wheelbase, turning the 308 into the 408.
Despite its name, the 408 isn’t exactly a 407 successor, but seeing that the old cat has grown up to full-sized D-segment challenger in the form of the 508, they saw a niche between the 308 hatchback and 508 to fill.
A niche of buyers who think the 308 is too short and stout for their needs, yet the 508 is still beyond their reach, and it is a neat place where the 408 with its added space and tail, fits in. Fit in it does, the added space between the front and rear wheels does give the 408 commodious rear quarters and the further back you would find enough luggage room to stuff 562-litres worth of items. That is plenty of space in the trunk for a packing a weekend away for a family of four, or a weekend at the golf course for you and your business associates. Those who found the 308 to be a little “short” on practicality will find the 408 to be an ideal car for their needs.
Step inside the cabin and the soft curves of the dashboard and its large glasshouse not only gives clear visibility, but feels more relaxed and stylish than its peers with their straightforward and upright dashboards. Thankfully the 408 Turbo variant gets the stylish white dials on the instrument cluster that would remind one of an expensive watch. Not just style the inside of the cabin is loaded with substances such as dual-zone climate control, rear-air conditioning vents, 6-speaker sound system with USB and Bluetooth connectivity, and a full complement of passive safety systems including six airbags.
In terms of output, Peugeot found it necessary to boost the power of 1.6-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine from the hatchback’s 156hp to 163bhp, whilst retaining the engine’s 240Nm output. As expected from the refined 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, the 408 picks up pace quickly and with surprising ease, and Peugeot says the 408 Turbo could do 0 to 100km/h in 9.2 seconds with a top speed of 215km/h. There is no need to work the engine hard to get any decent progress as the engine’s fat and flat torque curve that gets the car going with even a gentle brush of the throttle. Furthermore the engine manages to return an impressive figure of 8.2L/100km on the EU combined drive cycle. The six-speed automatic too is a gem, a paradigm of smoothness and responsiveness that doesn’t interrupt progress.
Not just a car designed to appeal to back seat passengers, the 408 handles pretty well, the steering feels accurate, and body roll is present but controlled. There isn’t much of the adrenaline pumping excitement in the way it goes around corners, but it is one that is cantered towards being capable on all days rather than exciting on certain roads. Being tuned for highway journeys, the steering is relaxed and not too sensitive, whereas the ride is optimized for long distance comfort rather than cornering stability.
The only thing the 408 Turbo lacks as compared to its smaller hatchback relation is the panoramic glass roof. To be honest, we were better off in the 408 without it as the panoramic glass roof works well in locations on the earth that isn’t fried by direct sunlight for most parts of the day all year round. The thin fabric hood on Peugeot’s panoramic glass roofs do block out the rays, but can’t do much in stemming the heat soak emanating from the glass. Some might say that the lack of a transparent roof might rob some the spaciousness felt in the hatchback, but for most days to most passengers, it is a feature that we could do without.
We don’t think that the 408 is a 308 with less frills, but one that pretty much achieves what its makers set it out to do. It has all the best bits lifted from the 308, and moulded in a practical body that would give its Japanese C-segment competitors a good run for its money, a marriage of European elegance and technology with the practicality and value that is offered by its Asian peers. It is the best of both worlds, through the theory of mixing and matching the traits to engineer a superior product, a theory that was theorized by a 19th century religious man.
Nasim, the official Peugeot distributors, is currently offering a very interesting Chinese New Year (CNY) plan just for the 408. At a low monthly payment of RM 888, you get to own the Peugeot 408 Turbo which is valued at RM 128,888 or the 408 2.0 liter at RM 109,888 OTR w/insurance inclusive of the 5-year warranty program. Visit any Peugeot Blue Box nearest you now!
Motorsportchannel.com &, Won KK