The Peugeot 407 SW - Style and Safety | Part Four

407 SW: stylish yet safe

The design provides a strong and protective safety cage for occupants and owes much to the inherent safety of the front structure and its ability to distribute energy in the event of a front impact. A lower sub frame supplements the more traditional upper energy absorption structure.

Pedestrian protection is maximised by structural flexibility of the front panels and by foam padding on the lower pedestrian bar and on the upper section of the front bumper impact bar.

The rear sub structure is identical to that of the saloon as far as the rear side members, while the additional overhang is obtained by a rear panel composed of a transverse brace welded to the side members. This panel creates a low boot sill and offers genuine protection to the tailgate in the event of a rear urban impact (less than 10 mph), thanks in particular to a replaceable impact beam.

The design of the rear structure created a technical challenge to preserve the style and required features, such as torsional rigidity and boot access.

The deeply sculpted tailgate and two rear quarter panel windows necessitated an innovative design with a rear panel set back into the roof.

On both sides, a sturdy ‘C’ post in the form of an inverted Y ensures the vertical connection between the roof cross-member and the rear seat cross-member on the floor. Each Y post circumvents the two rear quarter panel windows and duplicates the classic circular profile of the tailgate.

Like the saloon, passive safety is also ensured by up to nine airbags – driver and passenger, front side, curtain, rear side (option) – whilst the fitment of a steering column airbag (the 9th) offers effective protection to the knees and shins. The safety of all passengers has been meticulously catered for with seatbelts that restrain passengers intelligently, as well as "active" front head restraints.

Consistent with customer expectations, the 407 SW is equipped with three Isofix fittings: one for the modular front seat, and two others for the outer rear seats.

The numerous driving aids available to the driver of the 407 SW (as standard or as an option) contribute both to safety and comfort: cruise control (to be combined shortly with a speed limiter), tyre pressure sensors, anti-glare rear-view mirrors using electro-chrome technology, automatic windscreen wipers, automatic activation of headlamps, etc.

Great to drive

Based on Peugeot's proven track record, the wheels and suspension of the 407 SW form an essential part of its appeal, as in the case of the saloon, the use of efficient and reliable technology ensures a fantastic driving experience.

The front suspension, consisting of a double wishbones and a linked hub carrier, maintains the vehicle's direction whilst preserving steering accuracy.

The multi-link rear suspension guarantees rigorous control of each wheel under all driving conditions. Designed with inclined dampers, this new suspension optimises the width of the boot to achieve an optimum dimension of 1100 mm. At the front and at the rear, the suspension of the 407 uses a high proportion of aluminium for its performance and weight saving properties.

Electronically controlled variable damping, using nine separate settings is fitted to the V6 engine, while the steering benefits from electronically controlled hydraulic assistance in place of the variable power steering on other versions.

Like the saloon, the 407 SW is fitted with 16" wheels with 205/60 R 16 tyres, or 17" wheels with 215/55 R 17 tyres. Designed to match the car's dynamic performance, the brakes of the 407 SW have a maximum diameter of 330 mm, and the new generation ESP system, available on all versions, is designed to make particularly fine "understeer" and "oversteer" corrections.

continues... | Part Five
Published 30 May 2004 Melanie Carter

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