As a company, sometimes it’s better to outsource certain jobs when there are others out there who can do them better. Case in point: Peugeot and coupes. I’m referring to the sublime coupe variants of the 504 and 406, which were arguably more Italian than French as they were both designed and built by Pininfarina. With timeless proportions and lines, they look just as good today as they did when they were launched (1969 and 1996 respectively).
But for the successor to these models, Peugeot bafflingly opted to ditch Pininfarina and handle the exercise in-house. Consequently, the 407 Coupe was penned by a Peugeot design team led by Gérard Welter, and the car was built in the same Rennes factory where the 407 saloon was manufactured.
To give the Peugeot design team some credit, they did at least try to make a statement with the 407 Coupe. With its thrusting snout, shark-like fender gills and a roofline that extended from front to rear in one smooth arc, the 407 stood apart from other coupes on the market. Although striking, the 407 Coupe was no classical beauty. The front overhang was awkwardly long, and that gaping smiley grille looked plain goofy. Where its predecessors were svelte and elegant, this Pug was bulky and slab-sided.
Things didn’t get too much better on the move, as even the flagship 3.0-litre V6 model served up leisurely performance, partly due to its slow-witted six-speed auto. The 407 wasn’t dynamically terrible — it rode and handled okay — but it did nothing to engage the driver. The steering was too light and lacking in feel, and grip levels were nothing to write home about.
The 407 Coupe was a forgettable car, so no wonder Peugeot harked back to the wonderful 504 Coupe for the gorgeous retro-laced e-Legend concept it revealed at this year’s Paris motor show.
Good to see the French lion has its mojo back.
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