The Peugeot 408 notchback sedan made its world debut in China this week. No, it’s not a replacement for 407. The replacement for the 407 will move up a notch in the market since it intends to replace both the 407 and the 607. It will be called the Peugeot 508.

The new Peugeot 408 is actually a C-segment notchback sedan based on the C-segment Peugeot 308 platform, but with its wheelbase lengthened to give better interior room since it is a 4-door. Suspension settings have also been revised for the car’s new sedan weight and for a more comfort-biased setup. In China, its positioned against other C-segment sedans like the Civic and the Focus. And this time Peugeot seems to have gotten the ‘hatch to sedan’ conversion right – it looks a lot less awkward than the 206 Sedan.

The 408 measures 4,680mm long, 1,800mm long and 1,500mm wide. It has a wheelbase of 2,710mm which trumps the Civic’s throne as the longest wheelbase C-segment vehicle available right now (well not exactly – the Fluence wheelbase is said to be 2,702mm). It approaches CD-segment territory with that wheelbase length (the Pug 407’s wheelbase is 2,725mm)! This should mean pretty good interior room in theory.

The Chinese launch of the car introduces a two engine line-up – a 110hp 1.6 litre engine and a 147hp 2.0 litre engine. Different markets may get different engines. The 1.6 litre engine’s 110 horses is reached at 5,750rpm while peak torque of 147Nm is reached at 4,000rpm with 85% reached from just 2,000rpm. and 95% (140Nm) between 3,000rpm and 5,500rpm. That’s a good and wide torque spread. The 2.0 litre unit is equipped with continuously variable valve timing. It produces its peak power at 6,000rpm with peak torque of 200Nm reached at 4,000rpm.

The transmission options are either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic, which is the new AT8 Porsche Tiptronic system model. Not the same one as found in the 206 or the 308, which is the AL4. The AT8 uses a torque converter by ZF which improves gearbox output and reduces consumption by about 5%. The gearbox management can also lock the three higher gears to reduce torque converter slip during gentle driving. From my sources, these are not the only engine options available for the 408 so if it comes to Malaysia at all, there is still a question mark there. It would be nice if the same Prince engines in the 308 are offered.

Speaking of Malaysia – guess what, it’s under consideration to be launched in Malaysia as part of Peugeot’s plans for the ASEAN region that were revealed in a press conference this afternoon. It won’t necessarily carry the 408 nameplate though – that’s a marketing decision yet to be made. For now we can refer to it as the T73 sedan. Watch out for an update on that later this night.

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