Peugeot 406. More Detail Information
The Peugeot 406 was a mid-sized family car produced by the French manufacturer Peugeot from 1996 to 2004.
The 406 was available in sedan station wagon and coupe body styles with a choice of gasoline or turbo diesel engines.
The car can be seen as a direct descendant of its predecessor, the 405, to which it has a very similar silhouette. It used the same platform as the CitroŽn Xantia, though without that car's sophisticated hydropneumatic suspension system.
The Peugeot 406 was a sales success from its launch, with over 1.5 million units sold.
As was to be expected given Peugeot's long history with diesels, the diesel versions were very popular, and the 406 became one of Europe's best-selling diesel-powered cars. Initially, the car was available with 1.8 L and 2.0 L gasoline and 1.9 L diesel engines, followed by a 110 bhp 2.1 L turbo diesel, turbocharged 2.0 L and 3.0 L gasoline V6 engines.
The turbo diesel engines were replaced by HDi units in 1999. These new generation HDi engines were cleaner, smoother, quieter and 25 percent more economical than the units they replaced.
Although the 406 was not marketed as a sporty vehicle, its engines provided competitive performance. The 3.0 L V6 could match some sports cars for straight line acceleration. Performance figures for this engine have been timed variously between 0-60 mph in 8.5 and 6.9 seconds, the latter time recorded by the UK's Top Gear magazine.
While similar in size, shape, and design to the contemporary Honda Accord, French journalists lavishly praised the 406 as an excellent driving car, agile and sprightly enough to entertain on back roads, while still comfortable enough to be a long-distance cruiser. Some pundits of that era even felt the 406 was superior to the Honda Accord, Opel/Vauxhall Vectra, and Ford Mondeo in almost every aspect.
Contemporary journalists noted that build quality was dramatically improved over earlier Peugeot models. Despite its humble commodity marquee badge, the 406 has even been compared to larger, more prestigious cars like the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes CLK.
Due to the car's large size and weight, both of which were greater than most rival models, the gasoline-powered 406 tends to suffer from comparatively poor fuel economy, although fuel economy is still decent. No hatchback version was produced, despite this car competing against rivals like the Renault Laguna and Ford Mondeo, where hatchbacks made up most of the sales. Ultimately, this did not appear to affect 406 sales.
The CitroŽn Xantia, the 406's sister car, was a hatchback-only model with no sedan body style.
The highly regarded coupť version of the 406 was both designed and built by Italian designer Pininfarina, with choices of a 2.0 L 4-cylinder engine or a 3.0 L V6, and from 2001, a 2.2 L HDi diesel engine.
The 406 was notably successful in the UK, where it was built in the factories inherited from Chrysler Europe. It broke into the key UK fleet sales market, with 90 percent of units becoming company cars. UK sales overshadowed the Peugeot 205, Peugeot's previous best-selling model in the UK.
The Peugeot 406 was never marketed in the US, due to the failure of the Peugeot 405 in that market. The Peugeot 406 was succeeded by the larger, more prestigious 407 in 2004.
The 1.8 L and 2.0 L gasoline engines were intended as workhorse engines to get the car from place to place without the distraction of exciting performance (it should be noted that the 2.0 L engine was the same unit found in the original 206 GTi). The 1.8 L engine in particular struggled to move such a heavy car. The 1.6 L engine was never released in the UK.
The turbocharged 2.0 L gasoline engine was intended to bridge the gap between the gasoline 2.0 L and the 3.0 L V6. It was the same CT (constant torque) engine seen in the sporty Citroen Xantia Activa, supplying 150 bhp and an enormous (for a gasoline engine) 175 ft∑lbf of torque. Despite its relatively low bhp output and light pressure (9 psi) boost, the turbocharged engine offered more exciting performance than most of the range and is said to be the best compromise between excitement and sensibility. Although it would quickly fall behind the V6, the 2.0 L turbocharged CT is dynamic enough to compete with certain hatchback GTis, a testament to the ferocity of its acceleration.
The V6 engine was unusual in contemporary car circles for being a full-sized 3.0 L. Usually, manufacturers use a smaller-displacement engine such as Ford's 2.5 L V6. As such, the Peugeot V6 had a distinct displacement advantage over its rivals. Two V6 engines were available. Between 1996 and 1999, the V6 engine was rated at 186 bhp (often quoted as 192 bhp). From 2000 onwards, the V6 was uprated to 210 bhp.
The 406 was most commonly supplied with a diesel engine. The original turbo diesel engine was replaced in 1999 by the superior HDi unit. Although the HDi offered greater refinement, noticeably improved fuel economy, plus a common rail system (which means the engine does not have to be preheated before starting), the HDi engines tended to lack the performance of the old turbo diesel range, with one exception being the 2.2 L HDi. By 1998, the 406 was one of the most popular diesel cars in Europe, an accolade it still boasts in 2006, fully ten years after its launch - a time when most other cars are starting to fade.
Peugeot 406 in motorsport
A racing variant of the 406 was successful throughout Europe in touring car racing. Laurent AÔello, who had previously been a multiple winner of the French Supertourisme Championship with the Peugeot 405, won the 1997 German STW Cup in a 406 (he also finished third the previous year, and second the following year). However, the 406 was never successful in the prestigious British Touring Car Championship, in which it failed to win a race despite being the most powerful car to compete between 1996 and 1998 (inclusive) at 310 bhp. After the regulations of the British series were overhauled in 2001, Peugeot returned to the series with the 406 coupe, but again failed to achieve any wins. Peugeot remained involved in the series until 2003, but the 406 was replaced after the 2002 season by a racing variant of the Peugeot 307.
The 406 is starting to become popular among tuners. Three major body kits have been released, including one which resembles that found on the touring car racing variants. Lexus-style light clusters, uprated turbochargers, dump valve kits and so forth are available to enhance performance. It is worth noting that the standard heads and exhaust manifold are considered good enough that replacing these systems with expensive aftermarket components is not recommended.