We’ve updated this article with live images of the new Peugeot 408 from its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show on October 17-23, 2022. Check out our full coverage of the show here.

Peugeot has used the hottest design trend of today to create the 2023 408 Coupe crossover. The closest conceptual rivals of the new C-segment family car are Renault Arkana and its own sibling, the Citroen C5 X, but the 408 will also go up against more traditional opposition such as the Skoda Octavia and Ford Focus, proving to buyers that non-premium cars don’t have to be boring.

408 sits, as the name suggests, between 308 hatch and the 508 sedan in size and likely price, although Peugeot has yet to confirm exactly how much it will cost when sales in Europe and China begin in early 2023. But a starting point of around £28,000 / €32,000 for the entry-level PureTech 1.2 looks like a good bet.

The new Stellantis STLA Medium Architecture won’t be ready for deployment until 2024, so the 408 will make do with an updated version of the EMP platform found on current Peugeots. It measures 184.7 inches (4,690 mm) end-to-end, and the fairly long 109.7-inch (2,787 mm) wheelbase is almost exactly the same as the C5 X and makes the 408 the roomiest Peugeot of all, the company claims. Both the 408 and C5 X are also less than 59 inches (1,500 mm) tall, compared to 63-69 inches (1,640-1,750 mm) for the SUVs.

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408 is not just a C5 X with icon, however. It has the same basic four-door layout, a sporty rear liftback, and increased ground clearance compared to the regular sedan. But the Peugeot has a bolder face, a different design of the windows in the rear doors, a boxy style of the rear and body panels that are characterized by more assertive lines.

Black cladding on the bumpers, wheel arches and under the doors tries to create an atmosphere, while ultra-slim LED headlights carry this moody look into the design of the front end. The rear end is Subaru style “Pampers” in the style of WRX the rear bumper is perhaps less fortunate, but the two “cat ears” (Peugeot’s words) mounted at the top of the C-pillar to optimize airflow around the rear are certainly eye-catching.

Hybrid powertrains at launch, followed by a pure electric vehicle

How with C5 X, the base engine is a 128-hp 1.2-liter PureTech triple. (130 hp) and drives the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Peugeot doesn’t say how fast the 408 goes, but a Citroen with the same powertrain claims a fairly leisurely 10.4 seconds to 62mph (100km/h), so if you’ve got an ounce of petrol (or amps) in your veins, then you’ll want to upgrade to one of the PHEVs.

Both are mated to a 1.6-liter PureTech four-seater with an 81 kW (109 hp/110 hp) electric motor, again driving only the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic. But while the gas engine version of the 408 Hybrid 225 produces 178 hp. (180 hp) before electric supercharging, the Hybrid 180 can muster only 148 hp. (150 hp). These 180 and 225 model names refer to the total system output in metric horsepower in each case, which translates to 178 hp. and 222 hp. Citroen doesn’t offer a younger version to help us fill in the performance stats gaps in Peugeot’s press materials, but we do know 225-equipped C5 X can hit 62 mph in 7.9 seconds.

Also missing from Peugeot’s launch information is the electric range of these PHEVs. Maybe Peugeot doesn’t have the final numbers. Or maybe it was too embarrassing to tell. Looking again at the C5 X, we can expect a WLTP rating of around 34-38 miles (55-61 km), but probably only 25-30 in real-world use. Charging the 12.4kWh battery with the standard 3.7kW onboard charger takes 3 hours 50 minutes, but that can be cut to 1 hour 55 minutes if you splurge on the optional 7.4kW charger. An all-electric 408 will be added to the lineup at a later date, Peugeot says.

Spectacular interior, full of technology

Peugeot interiors are like that some of the most stylish in the non-premium sector, and the 408 does not disappoint in this regard. You get the company’s trademark i-Cockpit dashboard, which consists of a small steering wheel and a digital instrument display mounted above it. This is combined with a 10-inch central touchscreen, mounted lower on the console but extended further towards the driver for easy access.

Exact specs will vary by trim level and markets, but buyers who really want to trick out their 408 will be able to spec massage seats, Nappa leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof and 690W of hifi from French audio brand Focal. And Peugeot offers you a safety package, a roll call of gadgets, including adaptive cruise control with Stop and Go function, parking assistance with a circular view with four cameras and night vision. And a few months after launch, the Drive Assist 2.0 package will arrive, which provides semi-automatic lane changes, presumably after the driver presses the steering wheel.

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Live Photos by Stefan Baldauf / Guido ten Brink for CarScoops