Car reviews - Peugeot - 405 - Mi16 4-dr sedan
Keen road manners, rorty engines, stylish packaging
Room for improvement
Earlier D60 model not so durable later D70 Mi16 lost some of its spark
28 Jul 2003
PEUGEOT, one of the pioneers of the automobile industry along with Mercedes-Benz and Renault, has never been a leader in the performance car field despite its success in Formula One and world championship rallying.
Peugeot road cars were always ruggedly designed, with superb braking and handling, and had enough speed and reliability to win major long-distance car rallies such as the first Redex Round Australia Trial and the East African Safari.
But their performance tended to be adequate rather than sparkling.
The mid-sized 405 model with 2.0-litre engine followed the rather staid 504 and 505, and the base model conformed to the Peugeot recipe of moderate performance coupled with brakes and handling well in excess of the engine’s capabilities.
But with the introduction of the 405 Mi16 model, the performance level lifted dramatically.
The engine size remained the same but the addition of a twin cam cylinder head and other modifications transformed the standard car into a serious performance sedan.
The 405 Mi16 is a mid-sized front-wheel drive car with a 2.0- litre, twin cam, 16-valve, all-alloy engine and five-speed manual gearbox. Automatic was not an option.
Suspension is by MacPherson struts, lower wishbones and anti-roll bar at the front with transverse torsion bars, trailing arms and angled shock absorbers at the rear.
Brakes are power-assisted discs all round, ventilated at the front.
The Mi16 is distinguished from the standard 405 by lower ride height and an aerodynamic body kit with rear spoiler and front air dam with inset fog lamps.
The engine provides 108kW, compared to the 80kW of the standard single cam engine of the base model.
Performance is sporty, although not spectacular, but superb suspension and brakes combine to make the Mi16 a very fast point-to-point car.
Accurate steering and Michelin MXV 195/60 series tyres on 14-inch rims help make the roadholding outstanding.
Inside, the Mi16 is well appointed with plenty of room for five people.
The seats are adjustable for rake and height and the steering column is adjustable to allow the best possible driving position.
Leather trim, sunroof, electric rear windows and front centre arm rests were options.
Boot space is good although the loading lip is high and there is no interior release for the boot lock.
The car is built in Ryton, England, and build quality is good. Standard features include automatic climate control, central locking, alloy wheels, fog lamps, power steering, power windows and radio/cassette player, as well as a range of interior comfort features.
An upgraded model sold from 1994 had a driver’s airbag and anti-lock brakes.
The road manners of the Mi16 are outstanding, the supple but sporty suspension and Michelin tyres delivering good ride comfort and well balanced handling.
The steering response is sharp and the brakes - always a Peugeot strong point - are superb.
The Peugeot 405 Mi16 is a refined sporting sedan with good performance and outstanding handling and braking.
Strongly constructed, well finished and well equipped, it will provide satisfying motoring for those seeking a car with European manners and a sporting touch.
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