Pininfarina's sleek coupe is now importable via the 25-year rule, but you won't be the first to get one.
The Peugeot 406 sedan may have simply been just another French sedan, one we enjoyed seeing in Ronin, among other films, but the 406 coupe was a different beast altogether—and one that warrants a closer look, especially since they’re not very plentiful in North America at the moment.
The basic 406 arrived in 1996, just in time for recently closed Peugeot dealerships to get some demo cars to test the waters for a comeback, and it came with a spacious station wagon sibling, as space was sorely lacking in the 405 wagon that the US received in tiny numbers—just around a thousand units.
The 406 family was a whole size larger than the 405 you may remember, analogous in size to the BMW 5-Series rather than the 3-Series to use a common example, and it built upon the aggressive styling that debuted with the 106 hatch at the dawn of the decade.
With inline-fours ranging in displacement from 1.4-liters to 2.2-liters on the menu, the 406 was not particularly powerful, unless you opted for the 2.9-liter V6 with 190 hp and 197 lb-ft of torque on tap. As this is Europe we’re talking about, quite a few actually opted for far more frugal diesels, but the V6 option was certainly there for those who wanted to reenact the Paris chase scenes from Ronin on their work commute.
A handful of 406 coupes are now in the US and Canada.
The coupe, on the other hand, arrived a year later, debuting at the 1996 Paris motor show, and featured styling by design house Pininfarina, reviving Peugeot’s collaboration with the Italian carrozzeria that dated back to 1951. The 406 coupe swept a number of design awards in the following years, but Pininfarina was responsible not only for the exterior design, which kicked off in 1992, but for the production of the coupe itself.
The design was sketched out in 1992, with full-size mockups being built, and finalized in the spring of 1993. The coupe shared no exterior panels, glass, or lights with the sedan—that’s how unique of a project it was for the carrozzeria—sharing only the floorpan. And of course it received the V6 as well, though a 2.0-liter four-cylinder was also on the menu with 137 hp in top form. Two other smaller engines joined the lineup in the second half of its product cycle, including a 2.2-liter HDi diesel and a 2.2-liter gas inline-four with 160 hp available.
The 406 ended up sharing exterior parts with the 406 sedan and wagon, which are now also eligible for importation, if only the early years.
Of course, the 406 coupe was not aimed at Japanese or German performance coupes of the day—it was more about luxury—so the V6 (eventually with 210 hp in a later state of tune) was plenty.
By now you’re probably wondering what this car is doing here.
Well, it’s now just one of a few stateside. Since the model debuted in 1996 it’s now eligible via the 25-year rule exemption, which means you can import these up through the late 1997 production date. Just over 100,000 were produced with the vast majority staying in Europe, so finding one is not a problem, provided you can solve issues relating to its service—your former Peugeot dealers will be of no help.
Jay Ramey Jay Ramey grew up around very strange European cars, and instead of seeking out something reliable and comfortable for his own personal use he has been drawn to the more adventurous side of the dependability spectrum.