1989 Peugeot 405 Mi16 1.9 Twin-cam 16v from North America
Forget the BMW or Saab you're considering and get the best Mi16 you can find
Very little has gone wrong with this car in the 25,000 miles I've had it.
- Rear window roller disintegrated
- Thermostat died
- Fuel filter needed replacement.
Apart from basic maintenance, that's it.
It really upsets me that nobody bought these cars in the U.S. market when they had their chance, because if they had Peugeot might still be selling cars here today.
Dynamically, this is one of the best cars I have ever driven, never mind owned. The only way to describe it is neutral - the chassis is unbelievably responsive, progressive, and communicative. In a corner, you know *exactly* where this car is at all times, and what it's going to do next.
Steering is pin-sharp. The tranny is slick and precise. The only (minor) letdown comes from the brakes which, on my car at least, fall squarely into the 'good-but-could-be-better' category. Then again, my car doesn't have ABS, so ABS-ed models may be something of an improvement.
Performance is passable: the 1905cc 16V twin-cam pulls the car to 60mph in about 8 seconds or so. However, it's all top-end: there's no torque in an Mi16 below 5000 RPM. Redline's at 7000, though, and the sound of the engine has to be heard to be both enjoyed and believed - it's very reminiscent of the two-litre units Fiat used in countless 124 Spiders, but without the characteristic roughness of those engines. Also, if you start loading up on passengers and / or cargo, you will rapidly begin to notice that it is a relatively small-displacement engine.
Interior specs are comprehensive: leather, air-conditioning, sunroof, power windows and door/trunk locks, cruise control, fog lights... It's all there. Not toys for the sake of having toys, but items that really make it more enjoyable to live with the car.
Downsides: early 405s in general suffered from some body flex, so evey couple of months I have to go around the car with a screwdriver and tighten things down to keep squaeks and rattles at bay. It's also not really designed to accomodate people over six feet tall.
Off the mark, it doesn't have as much grunt low-down as I'd like, but keep it on the boil and it flies. The gearing is excellent; downshifting from 5th to 3rd at 60mph and passing cars before you have to upshift again at nearly 80 usually results in other drivers looking at you with an 'I-just-got-passed-by-*what*' expression, and keeping a respectful distance after that.
Too bad I can't go spend new car money on a 406 Coupe here, because I would just on the basis of how good the Mi16 is.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 15th August, 2002