Frank Wilksen is a veteran of Broom’s editorial board. He has worked as an automotive journalist for over 50 years and tested a large number of cars both at home and abroad.
Some cars remember it better than others. Frank now shares the memories with all of his Broom readers. This time it comes to the Peugeot 405 Mi16, perhaps the earliest French automaker was a family car with obvious sporting genes in the late 1980s.
The large mid-size Peugeot 405 was a sensation when it was launched in 1987, and the model gained additional traction when it was named Europe’s Car of the Year the following year. As a four-door sedan and as a station wagon, this model hit European car buyers hard and, over its ten-year life cycle, for a long time was one of the best-selling family cars on our continent.
Not least, it was very popular in its native France and the UK, but also in Norway, the Peugeot 405 has achieved very good sales figures.
High sales figures, as for other brands, apply mainly to family cars; everyday cars. Among the more unusual (and much more expensive) top models, much less copies were released from sales places.
This applies, for example, to the Peugeot 405 Mi16, the top model from 1988/89, which I had for a year and a half. It has been a year and a half of absolute driving pleasure, it must be said first. For the Mi16, it was a real treat on the road – low, fast on the stride and with a neat spoiler above the tailgate as a humble reminder that this was little more than the usual family car.
145 hp was a thing!
The ground clearance of just over 12 cm made it relatively unqualified as a cabin car, but then it was not designed primarily for Norwegian mountain roads. On continental asphalt – by all means Norwegian – it performed better than most asphalts, on the other hand, and the worn expression “creeping on very hard ground” easily stems from memory. Greatest driving pleasure car, I seldom own!
There have been many long and wonderful trips with the Mi16, not the least of which is outside the country’s borders. Especially the highway, with its free speed, attracted him strongly …
Today, there are probably many who are wondering how fun it could be with “only” 145 hp. This is nothing more than a small car with a bit of self-respect that it has to offer now – and if we jump into the realm of electric cars, it now comes down to how many hundreds of horsepower it has.
But in the late 80s, and a little in the 90s, 145 horses could not be missed. Not many can offer this in cars that would otherwise be available to most people, but Peugeot was able to do so with this top model.
upper middle class
The performance was not bad at all – the Mi16 managed 0-100 km / h in a short time of 8.6 seconds, and the top speed was 214 km / h. It is also useful here that the car was relatively light – 1110 kg – so the weight / power ratio was good.
Gasoline consumption in mixed driving was set at 1.05 l / ml, so it was not among the cheapest cars to drive. With a 70-liter fuel tank, the Mi16 still had an impressive radius – we could drive far on filling the tank.
In addition to sporty design and good performance, many well-known and good features of the 405 were placed. In terms of size, the Peugeot 405 ended up at the top of the middle class. The car – like a sedan – was 4.41 meters long and 1.72 meters wide. It had plenty of space in the back seat, and a luggage compartment with a capacity of 470 liters.
more solid kit
In terms of equipment, it wasn’t an orgy, but it was probably still above average for standard equipment at the time. The Mi16 has, among other things, an oil temperature gauge, acoustic warning for lighted candles, tinted windows, fog lights, heated side mirrors, leather-wrapped steering wheel, electric sunroof, central locking, power side windows and adjustable lumbar And the lateral support on the driver’s seat, the passenger compartment temperature is thermo-controlled and the make-up mirror.
A roster is not as impressive today as it was in 1989…
By the way, this model was noticeably more solid than the somewhat more comfortable family versions. When a car is lowered sharply like this, it has a price somewhere – the price is often called the comfort drop. And of course, the Mi16 had more cash in suspension movement than the usual 405 GR and SRI. However, the designers managed to maintain a quite acceptable compromise, which contributed well to many pleasant long trips without getting tired.
But technically, then – what was it like with reliability and quality, some French car skeptics ask me? That is, I can only remember one serious fault with this car – after that it was a completely unimpressive maintenance of the car with no workshop visits other than normal service.
On the other hand, this error was dramatic enough, and at worst could become a very upsetting event.
It was about the brakes. The system was initially reliable enough, with ventilated washers in the front and washers in the back. But I did notice some small tendencies to delay brake response, and service was requested.
It was a borrowed car – and a new braking system
This episode, which is still in the memory, occurred when the car was driven a little more than 34,000 km. I was on my way to Oslo on the E18 from the west early in the morning on a nice autumn day, with dry asphalt and good visibility. Traffic was normal in Oslo, but flowed at a good cruising speed – all the way out of Sandvika.
Suddenly I saw the brake lights flashing all over the parking lot in front of me, so I stepped on the brake pedal. Nothing happens. Zero response. I keep moving hard. The system continues to not respond. I thank the Creator for keeping a good distance from the car in front of me, and for continuing to move hard on the pedal.
When I start getting ready to crash with the car in front, the brakes hit. I can still imagine the blessed 2-3m distance left in front of me as the Mi16 is still standing…
If I may say so, I have never driven the Mi16 home again after visiting the service. It was a borrowed car – and my car stayed in the workshop to have the entire brake system replaced.
Some numbers, Peugeot 405 Mi16 1988/89:
Engine: 4.9-liter in-line 4-cylinder engine with 16 valves, twin overhead camshafts. 145 hp. Maximum torque of 166 Nm at 5000 rpm. catalyst
Driving: front wheel drive, 5-speed manual transmission
Tire dimensions: 195/60R14V
L x W x H: 4.41 x 1.72 x 1.41 m
Wheelbase: 2.67 m
Ground clearance: 123 mm
Trailer weight with brake: 900 kg
Net weight: 1,110 kg
Payload: 450 kg
Allowed Gross Weight: 1,560 kg
Luggage compartment: 470 liters
Fuel tank: 70 liters
Acceleration, from 0 to 100 km / h: 8.6 seconds.
Maximum speed: 214 km / h
Declared consumption for mixed driving: 1.05 l/ml
Station wagon – first of all
During the ten years of production, a total of more than 2.5 million Peugeot 405 cars were sold. The car already took over two existing models at its launch – the slightly smaller Peugeot 305, and partly also the slightly larger Peugeot 505.
Designed by the design house of Pininfarina, the 405 had some visual similarities to the Alfa Romeo 164, launched the same year – which was also signed by Pininfarina. However, the 405 was somewhat smaller than the new big Alfa Romeo car.
Several versions came out of the versions. The Mi16, and later the T16, was the flagship, but what was really a commodity was the GL, GLX, GR, SR, SRi and GRi. There was a lot about the sedan, but not least in this country, the station wagon was also very popular.
In 1995, production of the 405 sedan was discontinued, which this year was replaced by the new Peugeot 406. The station wagon ran until 1997, when the 406 took full control here, too.
Video: Here we test a very special Peugeot
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