The Emergency Lane: Peugeot’s uncrowned horsepower king

When a German sports fan comes onto the market with about 400 hp, we are hardly surprised. The Mercedes-AMG A45 S 4Matic + coolly kicks out 421 hp in the C-segment. The forthcoming Audi RS3 will do little for that. How different is the horsepower display in France.

The contrast between the German muscle bundles and the French competition is therefore great, because earlier this month they blew high from the tower with 360 hp for the new Peugeot 508 PSE, the strongest production model of the French ever. And then it was also about system power, since this is a plug-in. In other words, Peugeot has no reputation to uphold when it comes to horsepower.

For twenty years, 200 hp was pretty much the maximum for sporty models. That once started with the exclusive and toned 405 T16 (not counting the overboost) and ended with the dull 308 GTI. Only in 2013 was a big step towards higher engine power taken with the 270 hp RCZ R. Later, the 205, 250 and 270 hp versions of the now 200 kilos lighter 308 were added.

However, that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a true horsepower king on it for two decades. There was certainly one, only he was in an unexpected corner. In fact, the car in question was never officially delivered in the Netherlands. It concerns the 241 hp Peugeot 407 Coupé 3.0 HDiF. Indeed, a diesel. This motorization became available in 2009, shortly after the decision was taken not to sell the 407 Coupé in the Netherlands at all.

The power unit was the result of a collaboration with Ford and a further development of the 204 hp 2.7 HDiF. Basically, the 3.0-liter V6 diesel delivered 241 horsepower, but in cars like the Jaguar XF the engine kicked it to 275 horsepower. The French did not go that far, so cars like the Citroën C5 and C6, which were available with the 3.0 HDiF in the Netherlands, had to do with 241 hp.

The Peugeot 407 Coupé 3.0 HDiF had the same power, with which the model sprinted to 100 kilometers per hour in 7.7 seconds. Not a world time, but given the car weight of almost 1,800 kilos, that is not entirely surprising. Once up to speed, the large coupé continued to an autobahn-worthy top speed of 245 kilometers per hour.

In 2009, almost nothing indicated that you had to do with the then strongest production Peugeot ever. Only straight from the rear would the experienced car spotter notice that there is no dual exhaust on the right side, but that upper 407 has two oval exhausts on either side of the number plate. They are not as prominent as with the RS models from Audi, but for a Peugeot at the time it was quite something.

In the end, the Peugeot 407 Coupé was in production for less than five years, making the car relatively rare in itself. The 3.0 HDiF version did not come off the band until the autumn of the production period, making this model even more difficult to find. You can get a copy with over 200,000 euros in Germany for less than 4,000 euros.

Incidentally, it is not only Peugeot that has waited a long time on the French side to start on the more extreme engine powers. In fact, the 300 hp mark for production models was only reached from France last year with the Mégane RS Trophy and Trophy R, with the Alpine A110S shortly behind. It goes without saying that we disregard cars like the Venturi 400GT and Atlantique 300, just like the models of that one brand from Molsheim …

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