Charl Bosch
Online Motoring Reporter
3 minute read
22 Jun 2022
3:30 pm

Peugeot goes crossover svelte with dramatic new 408

Charl Bosch

Replacing the 308 as the head of Peugeot's hatchback range, the 408 has a choice of two electrified powerunits and the latest i-Cockpit interior.

New 408 has nothing in common with the sedan of the same name made since 2010.

Easily one of its most dramatic models of recent times, Peugeot has taken the wraps off of the all-new 408 as its first coupe-styled crossover.

A radical departure from the moniker’s designation as a sedan sold in China, parts of Eastern Europe and South America since 2010, the 408, which Peugeot refers to as a fastback, slots-in between the 508 sedan and 3008 as the Lion brand’s take on sister Stellantis marque Citroën’s C5 X, and long-time rival Renault’s Arkana.

Additionally positioned above the 308, with Peugeot describing the overall styling as keeping in touch with a “feline stance”, the 408 rides on the same EMP2 platform as the C5 X, which has been adapted for electrification offered on all but one of the available three powerunits.

New Peugeot 408 debuts
Despite the fastback design, the 408 is still referred to as a hatch

Billed as “dynamic and innovative” at first glance, the 408, in flagship GT guise, rides on 20-inch alloy wheels with its dimensions coming to 4 690 mm in overall length, a wheelbase of 2 787 mm and width of 1 859 mm.

Standing 1 478 mm tall, the 408, whose roofline has been designed to aid airflow “guided” by what Peugeot calls cat’s ears in reference to the integrated bootlid spoiler, boasts the same frontal appearance as the 308, with the mentioned rear being characterised by slim LED light clusters connected by a full-width light bar and prominent faux rear diffuser.

Offered in six colours, Pearl White, Cumulus Grey, Allure, Nera Black, Titanium Grey, Elixir Red and the exhibited Obsession Blue launch hue, the 408’s boot can accommodate 536-litres or 1 611-litres with the rear seats folded down.

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As with the 308, the 408 becomes the newest recipient of Peugeot’s latest i-Cockpit, which the automaker says, “sets new standards for ergonomics, quality, practicality and technology”.

Consisting of a ten-inch digital instrument cluster, a similarly-sized infotainment system angled towards the driver, the now trademark Peugeot small steering wheel, and lower mounted physical toggle switches, the centre console houses not only a storage area and cupholders, but as in the 308, the buttons for the eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Aside from the availability of a manual mode in the absence of a traditional three-pedal layout, gear shift paddles are provided as standard, along with features such as a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, steering wheel and windscreen, ambient lighting with eight colours, four type-C USB ports, a wireless smartphone charger and a ten-speaker Focal sound system on the GT.

New Peugeot 408 debuts
Subtle styling cues from the Aston Martin DBX and Lamborghini Urus prevail in the final design

The vast array of safety systems consists of Auto High Beam Assist Matrix LED headlights, Adaptive Cruise Control, 360-degree camera system, Night Vision and Lane Departure Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Monitoring, and the Drive Assist 2.0 that allows for level 2 semi-autonomous driving between 70 km/h and 180 km/h.

As mentioned, the 408 offers three power units, with the entry-level model utilising the familiar 1.2-litre three-cylinder PureTech turbo-petrol that pumps-out 96kW/230Nm.

The pair of next-up plug-in hybrids combine the equally well-known 1.6-litre four-cylinder PureTech turbo-petrol with a 81 kW battery in two combined states of tune; 132 kW in 180 badged models and 165 kW in derivatives carrying the 225 denominator.

New Peugeot 408 debuts
Interior the latest in Peugeot’s i-Cockpit design

As standard, both feature a 3.7-kW on-board charger that allows for a charging time of three hours 50 minutes when plugged into the provided 7.4-kW wallbox.

Optionally, the 7.4-kW charger cuts waiting time to one hour 55 minutes using the same wallbox. The usage of a standard household plug though will require a waiting time of 7.5 hours.

Going on sale next year, the 408 will be assembled at Peugeot’s Mulhouse Plant in France for Europe, and the Chengdu facility in China for exports to Asia.

At present, no plans are being made to bring it to South Africa.