1 Sep 1996
By CHRIS HARRIS
In some respects the stylish front-wheel drive 406 was a return to old-school Peugeot values (large cabin, supple suspension, solid build and excellent dynamics), combined with modern attributes like high levels of safety, useable technology and ample performance.
It seemed more like a replacement for the rear-drive 505 than the smaller, more flimsy 405. In fact speculation was rife that it was going to be called the 506. But 406 it was.
Initially it was sold as the 406 ST four-door sedan, complete with a 100kW/187Nm 1998cc 2.0-litre DOHC 16V four-cylinder engine married to a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual gearbox.
In October ’97 the luxurious SV sedan, powered by a 144kW/267Nm 3.0-litre DOHC a 24V V6 variant, as well as an 82kW/251Nm 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel manual sedan known as the STDT, joined the 2.0 ST.
As well, the gorgeous Pininfarina-built 406 Coupe automatic arrived. Wagon buyers, well-served by Peugeot since the 1960s, had to wait until March ’98 for the turbodiesel STDT and a year longer for the SV V6 version.