Peugeot 407

If you're a style-conscious buyer, what makes you sign a cheque for a coupe? Look at class sales figures over the past few years, and the answer appears simple. If it's got a sporty badge on the bonnet, or an electric folding roof, it's a dead cert.

There's no doubt that the 407 Coup� is a great-looking car, offering lots of equipment and superb cruising ability. But you will need to have deep pockets. Not only is it expensive to buy, but with poor residuals and heavy fuel consumption, it's costly to run. As a result, a similarly priced prestige brand car or cheaper CC model will make a lot more sense.

If you're a style-conscious buyer, what makes you sign a cheque for a coupe? Look at class sales figures over the past few years, and the answer appears simple. If it's got a sporty badge on the bonnet, or an electric folding roof, it's a dead cert.

But in such a competitive market, what chance does a newcomer with neither have? At £28,400, Peugeot's 407 Coupe costs nearly as much as a Mercedes CLK, Volvo's new C70 and BMW's imminent 3-Series Coup�.

The French maker does have an ace up its sleeve, though. With a gaping mouth and shark-like gills, the 407 Coup� certainly stands out from the crowd. Add in the sweeping roofline and chunky rear end, and the result is a distinctive and stylish two-door.

Inside, it's little different to the saloon model. Despite a lower driving position, you get no sense that you're controlling a sporty car because the A-pillars are so far away. And while build quality is better than on other 407s we have driven, the confusing centre console with its myriad of buttons remains unchanged. In the back, a lack of legroom means only short adults or chil-dren will be comfortable on a long trip.

But buyers seeking a fast, smooth driving experience will enjoy the Coupe. Our 211bhp 3.0-litre V6-engined GT test model had plenty of creamy power, and sprinted from 0-60mph in 8.4 seconds. With seamless shifts from the six-speed automatic gearbox, it's very relaxing, yet surprisingly fast. Economy is less impres-sive - expect to average 25mpg.

Thanks to revised suspension and a bodyshell that's much stiffer than the 407 saloon's, the Coupe feels good through corners, though. While the steering isn't razor sharp, body roll is well suppressed and bumps and ruts are effectively smoothed out. As you would expect from a top-spec model, the GT comes with lots of equipment, including electric leather seats, a six-CD changer and sat-nav as standard. But for £28,400, so it should.

And despite the Peugeot's virtues, it's difficult to get away from that enormous price - especially when, unlike premium rivals, the 407 Coupe won't hold on to its value particularly well.

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