Steering Column 17.07.09

All you could ever want . . .

Peugeot has put a couple of massively desirable engines in its massively desirable 407 Coupe.

The sleek and lanceolate two-door now gets a new two-litre diesel engine that’s more powerful yet more economical than the engine it replaces. It also gets an option on what’s claimed to be the most powerful engine ever put in a Peugeot production car – a V6 three-litre diesel lump that appears to put an end to compromise.

The two-litre HDi turns out 163bhp and 340Nm of torque which are pumped into the tarmac through a six-speed manual gearbox. That’s 20 per cent more power than the previous two-litre diesel engine and yet the official average fuel consumption is a hugely impressive 52.3mpg.

The three-litre HDi V6 engine turns out 241bhp and cranks 450Nm of torque through a six-speed automatic gearbox with a sequential semi-automatic shift option. This means it will clip through the 0-62 sprint in just 7.7 seconds. It’s 18 per cent more powerful and faster than the 2.7 it replaces and yet it’s 15 per cent more efficient. The official average fuel consumption is 39.2mpg. Brilliant!

It’s such a sleek looking car too. You’ve got a seducing mix of economy, power and glory in the latest 407s.

The two-litre Sport version will cost you £22,990 and the three-litre £27,490. If the cash was in my pocket, the car would be in my drive.

. . . and more

Casting economy and green credentials aside, Vauxhall is ready to start selling its most powerful version of the award-winning family car, the Insignia.

It is the Insignia VXR with a turbocharged 2.8-litre V6 engine stuffing 321bhp through a four-wheel-drive system that will bring you 60mph just 5.6 seconds after take-off.

The beast is available in three bodyshells – saloon, hatchback and estate car known as the Sports Tourer, and all three are leashed in to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.

There are all sorts of gizmos to keep the thing under control including electronic limited slip differential, drilled disc brakes with Brembo callipers and Pirelli P Zero tyres. Indoors your butt is kept under control by Recaro front seats and there are specially designed steering wheels and gearknobs to do the thing aesthetic justice.

It’s also worth noting that the Sports Tourer is the most powerful estate that Vauxhall has ever built.

Prices are £30,995 for the hatchback and saloon and £32,320 for the estate. If you want the complex music and satellite navigation centre, you can add £800 to the price. Add an inch to the diameter of the alloy wheels to take them up to 20 inches across and you can add £1,100. Go for the leather pack with electronic seat adjust­ment, pin an extra £1,300 on the tag. It’s a good looking car too with its lowered suspension, gaping air intake across the front and the metal surrounds to the built-in exhaust ports in the tail skirt. The wing on the tail is so subtle; you could almost miss it too.

Mike Grundon


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