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Peugeot has unveiled the new Peugeot 408 at the ongoing Auto China 2014 show in Beijing. Designed for the Chinese market, the new 408 is based on the new 308, the reigning 2014 European Car of the Year. In the Middle Kingdom, it replaces the 408 that we’re familiar with in Malaysia.

To do battle in the “upper Chinese C-segment”, the new 408 is armed with more space and tech. The wheelbase has grown by 20 mm to make 2,730 mm, the longest in the segment – although WB measurement doesn’t always tell the full story (packaging counts, too), the 408 should offer above par rear legroom.

Like the new 308, this sedan sits on PSA’s new EMP2 platform. The Efficient Modular Platform 2 also underpins the new Citroen C4 Picasso MPV. In the 308, the new underpinnings play a key role in the considerable weight reduction, by an average of 140 kg compared to the outgoing hatch. This should translate to a lighter 408 as well.

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No official pic of the cabin was released, so we’re left wondering if Peugeot carried over the 308’s modern, minimalist dashboard or gave the 408 a more traditional cabin, one that has a more “luxurious” feel befitting its positioning. We’re guessing the former.

Under the hood is a direct-injection 1.6 THP turbocharged engine with Stop & Start technology. Dongfeng Peugeot’s move to push the new 408 upmarket means that the sedan will have full-LED headlamps, a “City Park” system and blind spot sensors, among other kit.

Peugeot says that the 408, together with the Exalt concept car, debuts the brand’s new styling cues. Note that the lion badge on both cars now sit proud in the middle of the grille, as opposed to on the hood. The 308’s distinctive feature line that rises from the front door and ends at the tail lamp are replicated on the 408, which to our eyes, looks unexciting but neat enough.

Live pix by Moy Yew-Meng