The Lion king is ready to return... meet the stunning replacement for the Peugeot 607.
The range-topping saloon promises to set new standards of style and sophistication for the French brand, and is tipped to be one of the stars of the Paris Motor Show in October.
Likely to be called the 608, it aims to establish Peugeot as a major player in the large family car market across Europe – a goal which the outgoing 607 failed to achieve.
Our exclusive image reveals some of the ideas the company is currently considering to help ensure the model’s chances of success.
And as you can see, the 608’s rakish profile is a huge improvement over that of its dreary predecessor. Peugeot’s recently appointed head of design, Jerome Gallix, can take much of the credit for this, as the newcomer is the first project to be masterminded by him.
The trademark Peugeot grille remains, but the lights will have a more aggressive look than those of the 308 or 207.
A distinctive rising crease runs along the flanks, from the front wing to the boot, while sculpted sills add further to the visual drama. An upswept C-pillar detail and stylish rear lights complete the look.
Gallix has vowed to come up with a unique, instantly identifiable shape for Peugeot cars. Yet this won’t conform with the conventional design seen on prestige models from the likes of Audi and BMW.
And it’s no secret Peugeot intends to match the interiors of its German rivals, so expect a feast of top-notch design and hi-tech kit in the cabin. The emphasis will be on providing occupants with a relaxing atmosphere, complemented by excellent build and materials.
Standard equipment is likely to be very generous, too, with refined sat-nav systems and intelligent controls.
These should give the car the kind of advanced feel to match the Ford Mondeo and forthcoming Vauxhall Insignia.
Under the skin, the saloon shares its platform with the latest-generation C5 from PSA sister brand Citroen. That car’s chassis is tuned as much for comfort as it is for handling performance. But the Peugeot promises to take refinement even further, thanks in part to dramatically improved sound insulation. Engines will be shared with the C5, too, and Peugeot is keen to make sure its latest model puts the emphasis on fuel efficiency.
The car will be launched with a choice of advanced 2.0 and 2.2-litre four-cylinder HDi diesels, while flagship variants will be available with a 2.7-litre V6 oil-burner.
It’s possible there will be no petrol options in the UK market, as the V6-engined version of the 607 proved such a slow seller here. But buyers will get the option of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, both of which send power to the front wheels.
Adjustments will be made to all engines to improve their emissions figures, while fuel-saving stop-start technology is also in the pipeline for the newcomer. This will eventually filter through to the rest of the manufacturer’s model line-up.
The big Peugeot will arrive in British showrooms in 2009, with prices from £25,500.
WHY 608 WILL BE BEST OF THE BREED
AIR-suspension is likely to be fitted to top-spec versions of the new luxury car. The system is derived from that first used on the Citroen C5 and C6. But Peugeot’s engineers will adjust the air-filled shock absorbers to give sportier handling than on Citroen models.
CHASSIS is based on the latest evolution of PSA Peugeot Citroen’s largest passenger car floorpan, which also underpins the C5 and C6. The 608 will be a bit longer than the C5, but has a bigger cabin. In the rear, the legroom will rival that of a Mercedes E-Class.
ALTHOUGH the production-ready engine line-up has still to be confirmed, insiders tell us Peugeot remains committed to developing its HDi units. These are set to include a diesel hybrid, based on the 2.0-litre oil-burner, which promises fuel returns close to 90mpg.