Peugeot 408 review

Peugeot 408 review

We road test the rakish new Peugeot 408. It’s certainly got kerb appeal, but what’s it like to drive?

The all-new Peugeot 408 is marketed as a fastback. In fact, it’s more of  a mash up of a hatchback, SUV-coupe and saloon.

Ultimately, what really matters is that when it comes to car design, Peugeot is on a roll. From the 208 supermini, to the 308 hatchback and 3008 crossover, there’s not a pug in the range (if you’ll excuse the pun).

The 408 is priced from £31,050 to £43,300, and this large family car sits taller than a saloon or hatchback and lower than an SUV/crossover.

Peugeot 408 review

You can choose between a conventional petrol or a plug-in hybrid, and both are paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, while a 100% electric version will join the line-up in the next year or so.

The 408 has a sleek, sloping roofline, giving it a coupe-esque profile. Up front, there’s a wide, imposing grille with body-coloured strakes, flanked by ‘lion’s fang’ daytime running lights and slim, mean-looking headlights.

The rear end sees a modest outing for Peugeot’s signature ‘lion’s claw’ rear lights and a chunky black bumper below. Overall, the 408’s derriere is not unlike a Lamborghini Urus, no less.

Inside, it’s much like the smaller 308 (which is no bad thing). So, as ever with Peugeots, the small steering wheel is placed below the digital driver’s display.

Peugeot 408 review

However, this ‘i-Cockpit’ design is not to everyone’s taste. I prefer to sit low in any cabin, and in the 408 I found the top of the steering wheel obscured the upper reaches of the instrument binnacle.

That said, it’s perfectly comfortable once you get used to the set-up and many drivers may prefer the generally slightly elevated driving position (compared to a conventional saloon or estate).

Elsewhere, the cabin reflects Peugeot’s push upmarket with quality materials, plenty of soft-touch surfaces and a satisfying weight to the doors. It’s all well finished too and the seats are comfortable and supportive.

The centrally mounted 10-inch i-Connect Advanced infotainment system is clear and slick enough, and I liked the row of i-Toggles (touch-sensitive, short-cut buttons mounted lower down), which can be configured as favourites. There’s also a row of physical switches below for essentials such as climate control. The infotainment system can also be updated over-the-air.

Peugeot 408 review

There’s no shortage of space up front or behind, though taller back-seat passengers may struggle for headroom, thanks to the sexy roofline.

When it comes to luggage capacity, the petrol version offers 536 litres, rising to 1,611 litres with the rear seats folded down. The plug-in hybrid delivers slightly less (471/1,545 litres) because the battery eats into the boot space.

The new Peugeot 408 is well equipped and there are four trim levels – Allure, Allure Premium, GT and First Edition.

Allure gets 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, a reversing camera with rear parking sensors and part-leather seats, plus a 10-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Peugeot 408 review

Allure Premium adds larger 19-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, front parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert and long-range blind spot protection.

Range-topping GT cars get different 19-inch alloy wheels, a body-coloured grille and a sporty body kit. Inside, there are aluminium trims on the door sills, ambient lighting and green contrast stitching.

Limited-run First Edition adds goodies including 20-inch alloy wheels and a 10-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat with massage functions.

I tested both the 128bhp petrol and the more powerful of the two plug-in hybrid versions (178bhp and 222bhp).

Peugeot 408 review

This entry-level model utilises the 1.2-litre PureTech three-cylinder engine used extensively across the Peugeot and Citroen ranges.

It’s a punchy performer and seems swifter than the 0-62mph figure of 10.4 seconds. It tops out at 130mph, while economy is up to 48.1mpg and CO2 emissions are as low as 133g/km.

It may seem odd to power a relatively large car with such a dinky engine, but it works. Yes, it’s thrummy if you put your foot down, and it sometimes has to work a little harder than a bigger engine, but overall it’s an impressive unit perhaps best suited to urban environments.

The plug-in hybrid version we tested has a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, paired with a 109bhp electric motor, producing a combined 222bhp.

Peugeot 408 review

The PHEV gets from 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds and goes on to a maximum speed of 145mph. In theory, it’s capable of up to 269.5mpg, but as with any plug-in hybrid, your economy will depend on many factors such as the length of your journey, whether you keep the battery fully charged, the temperature and how your drive.

Just as importantly, the 408 PHEV offers up to 40 miles of electric-only driving, while CO2 emissions are as low as 26g/km, unlocking substantial tax savings for business users.

So, if your daily commute is around the 25-mile mark (in line with the UK average) and you can charge overnight at home or elsewhere, your visits to the petrol station could be few and far between.

The battery on both plug-in hybrid versions has a capacity of 12.4kWh and two types of on-board single-phase charger are available – a 3.7kW as standard, or an optional 7.4kW. Charge times are 3hrs 25mins and 1hr 40mins respectively.

Peugeot 408 review

There’s no doubt that the PHEV version offers the most relaxed driving experience overall and suits the 408 best.

There’s more power on tap, and naturally, it’s hushed in all-electric mode, while the switch from petrol to hybrid and vice versa is seamless.

That said, push on or select Sport mode and the 1.6-litre engine becomes a little more vocal.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox works well too, only occasionally holding on to a gear for a tad too long.

Peugeot 408

The ride on both the petrol and hybrid versions is smooth and the car soaks up the bumps nicely.

The 408 has good road manners. It feels substantial, yet body lean is well controlled and there’s decent grip.

The steering is light and responsive,  and the car is easy to manoeuvre. However, visibility out of the slim rear window isn’t great and I’d prefer a rear wiper.

The Peugeot 408 occupies something of a niche, so identifying rivals isn’t so easy. The Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake, Renault Arkana and Cupra Formentor, spring to mind, but its most obvious competitor is closer to home. The C5 X, from Citroen (Peugeot’s French cousin) is very similar, yet cheaper.

Verdict: The all-new Peugeot 408 manages to strike a balance between economy, comfort, practicality and sportiness. Safe and well equipped, it has a classy feel and oozes kerb appeal.

Peugeot UK

Peugeot 408 review

Toyota GR86 review

Toyota GR86 review

There are a handful of affordable new cars worthy of a genuine fanbase, and the sports coupe previously known as the Toyota GT86 is one of them.

At the end of the ICE age of motoring (Internal Combustion Engine), there will be a special place in heaven for this thrilling, budget buy.

Before we continue, let’s deal with the obvious question – why has the new version of the GT86 confusingly morphed into the GR86?

Toyota GR86 review

Well, Gazoo Racing is Toyota’s motorsport division and it’s recently been turning out acclaimed GR versions of the Yaris and Supra.

Now it’s the turn of the GT86, which has been re-named for its latest incarnation so that it fits in with the Gazoo Racing family of sports cars.

At first glance, the Toyota GR86 looks not unlike the old GT86. In other words, there’s a long, low bonnet and the same pert rear end with twin tailpipes. The GR86 is actually slightly lower (10mm) the wheelbase is a tad longer (5mm) and it’s lighter.

Toyota GR86 review

The reality is that it has a more aggressive stance than its predecessor, thanks to the addition of aerodynamic front air intakes and outlets, sleek side spoilers, rear wheel arch fins and a rear spoiler.

To simplify matters, there’s just one standard trim level available, and the GR86 is offered with either a manual or automatic transmission.

But don’t feel that you’ve been short-changed because the level of equipment is a marked improvement over the outgoing model, with more on-board tech and safety equipment, more power and suspension tweaks.

Toyota GR86 review

The GT86’s four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol engine has been replaced by a larger 2.4-litre unit, giving the GR86 a 17% power boost to 231bhp. Just as importantly, there’s a claimed 22% increase in torque with the 250Nm peak now arriving at almost 3,000rpm lower down the rev range.

As a result, the 0-62mph acceleration time has been cut by more than a second to 6.3 seconds, while the top speed is now 140mph. The automatic is slightly slower, but not much (6.9 seconds/134mph).

Considering the power on tap and high enjoyment factor, it’s no gas guzzler either. Toyota claims up to 32mpg, while CO2 emissions are around 200g/km.

Toyota GR86 review

GR86 goodies include 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights and automatically-folding door mirrors. Inside, there’s a central 8-0-inch infotainment screen, suede and leather seat upholstery, and heated front seats.

Other tech highlights include a 7.0-inch driver’s digital display, smartphone charging, cruise control and a reversing camera, as well as safety features such as blind spot monitoring and lane-keeping assistance.

Overall, the cabin has a classier, more solid feel, but there are still a lot of hard surfaces and it’s definitely old school in terms of layout.

Toyota GR86 review

The best news is that the GR86 is essentially the same classic front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car that it ever was – except even better.

We tested it on the challenging Monteblanco Circuit near Seville in southern Spain, followed by an entertaining road route.

There’s plenty of space up front, but clearly the rear seats are next to useless thanks to the almost complete lack of legroom, while boot space is limited (226 litres).

Toyota GR86 review

That said, the new front sports seats are slim yet supportive, while the rear seats can be folded down to reveal a load space big enough to hold four wheels (ideal for enthusiasts driving to and from a track day).

The low-slung driving position is almost perfect, while the flat-four engine’s growl sounds the part, though many enthusiasts will disapprove because it is augmented via the audio system.

There’s noticeably more power and a much broader torque curve, making it feel quicker, while the increased body rigidity and sports-tuned suspension makes the handing more responsive and improves handling through faster corners.

The addition of grippier Michelin Pilot Sport 4s hasn’t robbed the GR86 of any its playfulness either, so there’s still scope for drifting (on track of course).

Toyota GR86 review

In a nutshell, the balance of this sports coupe is spot-on. A near-perfect blend of power, nimble steering and well-managed body control. Tremendous fun on the road and track, it generates generous amounts of driver confidence.

If I had to nit-pick, I’d say the six-speed manual gearbox is on the notchy side (a slick-shifting MX-5 is still hard to beat), but overall, it’s hard to fault – especially at the price (£29,995).

As for rivals, the obvious ones are Subaru BRZ (it was developed alongside the GT86/GR86), plus the Audi TT, BMW 2 Series and Mazda MX-5 RF.

Now for the bad news. The entire two-year allocation of GR86 coupes has already sold out. And because of forthcoming changes to European safety regulations, this car will only be sold for two years before being withdrawn from sale in 2024.

Verdict: Toyota has pulled off a masterstroke with the new GR86, retaining the outgoing GT86’s fun-to-drive character, but also successfully improving it where it matters. More power, more torque, a classier interior and sharper handing only add to the magic. Enjoy the Toyota GR86 – an affordable, living legend.

Toyota UK

Ginster Yellow Coupe Quattro Holy Grail Hits the Auction Block

Ginster Yellow B3 Audi Coupe Quattro Rare Collectors Car

Near-Flawless Ginster Yellow ACQ is one of only a handful in this rare color. With 64,000 original miles, this is a collector’s holy grail. 

When someone outside the Audi world hears the phrase “Audi Coupe Quattro,” they’re most likely to picture the iconic UR Quattro or Quattro S1 rally car. That’s because its successor, the B3 Coupe Quattro, wasn’t the most successful of sales stories in North America. This is especially true when it comes to the color Ginster Yellow, which we’re happy to admit isn’t for everyone. With only around 1,750 ACQs ever selling among its short run of only 1990 and 1991 model years in the US, it’s estimated only a couple dozen came in this color. To find one is a difficult task. So, if you’re a classic Audi collector, we advise you get out your wallet because this one is for sale.

This rare beauty is currently listed for sale on Cars and Bids. At the time of writing, it’s got about a week left and currently holds a bid of just $4,600. However, we don’t anticipate it’s going to stay that low. Given the rarity and its condition, it’s hard to say what it will sell for. We can assure you, though, we’ll be watching it closely.

Audi 20V Naturally Aspirated five-cylinder engine

Classic Audi Five-Cylinder Power

While the European market did get these cars with turbo engines, we did not. However, they still have some legendary Audi heritage planted under the hood. The 2.3-liter inline-five 20-valve shares the same architecture as the rally icon. Dual-overhead-camshaft construction and a sound that you won’t soon forget, even naturally aspirated. Originally, this engine had an output of 164 horsepower and 157 pound-feet of torque. Of course, power is sent to all four wheels via the five-speed manual transmission.

The Ginster Yellow paint job is far from subtle, which perfectly contrasts how much the underloved B3 Coupe Quattro flew under the radar. Its 15″ Speedline wheels complement this color quite nicely, though. One thing’s for sure; nobody is going to miss this thing driving down the road!

Interior of B3 Audi Coupe Quattro for sale Cars and Bids

A Rare Gem Frozen in Time

The true selling point of this beauty is its overall condition. It has only 64,200 original miles, which is reflected inside and out. Though it isn’t perfect, it’s in remarkable shape for being 32 years old.

Known flaws listed in the article include rock chips, peeling paint on the grille, peeling clear coat on the hatch, wheel scratches, and, of course, some minor electrical issues. The passenger power mirror, driver’s window regulator, and driver’s power seat do not currently function.

It does have plenty of recent service history, though, including control arms, ball joints, and tie rods. Furthermore, it got a new battery, new thermostat, new tires, new water pump, timing belt, and a host of seals replaced, too. Finally, the seller had a new ABS sensor installed, and the air conditioning system serviced within 600 miles.

So, while it may not be Concours perfect, it truly is an ideal car for a collector who isn’t afraid to drive their vehicles. Moreover, it’s ideal for a collector who wants to be noticed as they drive down the road.

Photos: Cars and Bids

BMW 8 Series Coupe review

The rakish, all-new 8 Series Coupe is proof positive that BMW is a brand on the move – in an upwardly mobile direction. Here’s an accomplished big GT that’s an intoxicating blend of old school and cutting edge with a dash of luxury. Powerful, plush and packed with the latest tech, it’s also blessed with …

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