saloons rarely look as sensational as this one. Steeply raked
runs smoothly towards the fast-back tilt rear window, not enough ? then
look at the long front and rear overhangs, outdated they might be, but
they enable a sleek nose and tail so to contrast today’s popular fat
bold design theme. Admittedly, there are a few American cars also
such sports-car-like profile, say, Dodge Intrepid, but the Peugeot does
that in a much shorter length yet it has some cleverer details, say,
stylish rear lights and distinctive curve along the edge of boot lid.
front is not so clever. The cat’s eyes - obvious inspired by 206’s
- plus the half-circular grille seems funny rather than prestigous.
OK for 206, but not an executive saloon. On the contrary, the fully
side window surrounding makes Mercedes E-class feels cheap.
might not be all that prestigous, but interior must be. The dashboard,
center console and glove box area are stylishly shaped just to the
degree - a good balance between fashion and classy. There are several
to be chosen, including wood / leather (for traditionalists) and a
"Titanium Ambience" trim. The latter has mock carbon fiber panels
of wood and titanium-colored plastic instead of leather. Not only very
tasteful, the selection of materials also worth praising. For example,
the slightly shiny black plastic covering the dashboard, has soft
and feels good to touch. It is not shame to compare with Audi.
comfortable seats are other advantages. There is sufficient room for
passengers. Good knee room at the back too, but just don’t expect too
head room, which is limited by the coupe-like rear window.
further enhanced by the driving experience. I’m not saying the ride is
particular impressive. Although it’s a French car and also the first
employing 9-setting electronic adaptive damping front and rear, early
is that it doesn’t soak up low speed big bump very well (to be
in a detailed road test in future). What I mean is the refinement of
train and noise insulation. The top-of-the-range 3.0 V6 under
is smooth and eager at high rev. It was derived from the French
V6 powering 406, Citroen Xantia and Renault Laguna, added with variable
valve timing at inlet side, thus sweet to rev towards red-line, and
length intake manifold, thus output more bottom-end torque. Power has
raised from 194 hp to 210 hp. Torque is equally impressive 210 lbft.
by remarkable sound-deadening material, the cabin feels quiet at
even at 100 mph. Push the engine, it is no longer as Lexus-quiet, but
hard-edged note is enthusiastic to hear.
is offered with an optional Tiptronic gearbox licensed by Porsche. It
three automatic modes - normal, sports and winter - plus sequential
mode. However, the absence of 5th hurt accelaration.
handling is not the strength of this big Peugeot. Too big, perhaps.
nearly 100 mm longer than our benchmark BMW 5-series and the V6 model
50 kg heavier. Therefore handling suffers. Despite of ESP, you can
feel the car is fundamentally more prone to understeer. In other words,
it is more reluctant to change direction than, say, 5-series, Omega or
Alfa 166. The same understeer works quite well at high speed to deliver
a stable and secure cruising. Steering is accurate but over-assisted,
insufficient of feel. Again, a more detailed assessment is required in
So, the new
is not really
qualified as the best executive saloon. 5-series, Lexus GS and Volvo
are still unmatched. However, it is not a secret that the big Peugeot
the less demanding customers, in other words, those having smaller
Therefore it actually rivals the entry level German prestige, Lexus,
and the so-called second division players headed by Opel Omega. Then,
will be easier for the Peugeot. Especially it also offers 2 cheaper
- an all-new 2.2-litre 160hp four-pot and a common-rail diesel 2.2HDi
VTG turbo and the world’s first particle filter. The latter is even
torquey than the V6. It might be the biggest seller of all.