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Peugeot 407 and rally cars

Broadcast date : 2nd May 2004

Peugeot 407
Peugeot's 407 is due to be launched here in July and it won't be a minute too soon when it arrives here. The 406 sedan it replaces is a car with impeccable road holding, build and lusty performance, but it is clothed in the automotive equivalent of a safari suit... plain boring in other words. The 407 is set to change all that.

It has a very aggressive front end, a rakish profile and a harmonious rear end that is an object lesson to the likes of BMW, who rarely seem to be able to integrate the taillights with the bootlid.

The South African spec is still to be finalised, but it is likely to include a mix of petrol and diesel engines. In Europe it is available with a total of six engines ranging from an 80-kilowatt diesel to a hundred and fifty five kilowatt V6.

Hopefully we'll get at least one diesel model and the V6, as this engine was the cherry on top of the 406 series the new car replaces.

Peugeot 407 Silhouette
Perhaps to shed itself once-and-for-all of the tweed and hushpuppies image, Peugeot has also produced an astounding concept version of the 407 called the Silhouette.

A pure show car at this stage, this two-door car is a track racer in essence, but fully equipped with headlights, taillights mirrors and everything else needed to make it street legal.

The 407 bodywork has been appreciably "fattened" by flared wheel arches, side skirts, aerodynamic splitters at the front and a massive rear tail wing.

In fact the bodywork is manufactured entirely in carbon fibre and beneath the body is a complete racing tubular chassis.

The V6 engine is mid-mounted, with the gearbox located behind the engine and driving the rear wheels.

The gearbox is a six-speed sequential racing gearbox with direct dog location and straight-cut gears.

The engine is a modified version of the production V6 and has been tweaked to produce 230 kW, some 75 kW more than the standard V6 powering the top-line 407

The suspension is a double wishbone, classic racing set-up, with roll bars that are adjustable from the cockpit. This means the driver can adjust the stiffness of the suspension at both the front and rear axles when on the move.

The cockpit is pure track racer and the steering wheel incorporates a GPS, or satellite display that enables the display of a race circuit map. It also offers an "optimum racing line" for circuits, using cartographic data supplied by satellite of the racetrack being used at the time.

The cockpit nevertheless uses dashboard and door panels that are based on those of the standard road car. But there are only two seats in the Silhouette and trim levels are at a minimum to keep weight down.

Peugeot havenít issued performance data for this one-off concept racer, but you can figure on a nought to one hundred time of under five seconds and top speed of over three hundred kilometres per hour.

Peugeot 307 WRC
Of course, Peugeot is famous for its dominance of the World Rally Championship over the past few seasons. And this new 307 WRC, or World Rally Championship challenger is designed to keep Peugeot in front.

The car is based on the new Peugeot 307 cc, but without the removable top option we showed you a few episodes ago.

But it hasn't been going all Peugeot's way this year, as victories have gone to Citroen and then Subaru.

However, at the recent Rally of New Zealand the 307 in the hands of double world champion Marcus Gronholm, the car is now right on the pace. Only bad luck prevented Gronholm from taking victory from Subaru, and in the final stage he closed to within five seconds of victory.

Some motorsport experts feel that the World Rally Championship requires more involvement than Formula One. Certainly the logistics of crew and cars are much more difficult than circuit racing, and the teams budgets are enormous.

The cars all conform to a two-litre, four-wheel-drive formula laid out by the FIA, the world's motorsport controlling body.

The suspension systems are computer controlled, as are the differentials, which can be altered infinitesimally to split torque between front and rear and to each individual wheel.

The Peugeot uses a turbocharged four cylinder engine that produces two hundred and twenty five kilowatts, at just five thousand, two hundred and fifty rpm. It is not about power in rallying, but putting power to the road.

Thus the torque is available from low in the rev range and there is five hundred and eighty Newton metres on call at three thousand five hundred rpm.

In fact such is the spread of torque that this year Peugeot is using a four-speed gearbox in the 307. Peugeot reasons that much time is wasted changing gear on a rally special stage.

This year there are 16 rounds of the WRC and rallying has never been more competitive.

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