Twin Test: Four-Seat Coupes

  • We pit the Stylish Peugeot 407 against the venerable BMW 3 Series.
  • Driving, practicality and cost all considered
  • Find out which car emerges victorious

Can’t face towing a caravan, but still fancy a family touring holiday? Buy a £5,000 four-seat Coupe and spend the change on hotels instead – here we put the Stylish Peugeot 407 coupe up against the venerable BMW 3 Series.

BMW 3-Series (1999-2006) vs Peugeot 407 (2006-2010)

Driving

Once brandishing the tagline, The Ultimate Driving Machine, BMW is rightfully proud of its cars dynamic abilities  – and the 3 Series Coupe is one of its best. With rear wheel drive, precise steering and an excellent range of engines there’s much to praise, and if it were our money we’d look for a 2.0-litre diesel.

BMW's 3-Series Coupe

With  its front wheel drive platform the Peugeot isn’t quite as sharp to drive as the rear-wheel drive BMW, but makes up for this lack of precision with greater comfort – the larger V6 diesel being a particular highlight. Even the 2.0-litre diesel is pleasantly  brisk, though we’d avoid the thirsty 3.0-litre V6 petrol.

Practicality

Like the Peugeot the BMW is based on its saloon counterpart, but while  the 407 will happily accommodate adults in the back the high transmission tunnel of the rear-wheel drive 3 Series eats into foot space. However, that said the boot is slightly larger than its rival’s, with a maximum capacity of 410 litres with the rear seats in place.

It may be a coupe, but the Peugeot 407 is a sizable car and as such is one of the few four-seat coupes that can actually carry adults in the back. The rear seats still split and fold – like the saloon the car is based on – and retain the familiar ski hatch. Leave them in place and the 400-litre boot should swallow most holiday luggage  with ease.

Like the Peugeot the BMW is based on its saloon counterpart, but while  the 407 will happily accommodate adults in the back the high transmission tunnel of the rear-wheel drive 3 Series eats into foot space. However, that said the boot is slightly larger than its rival’s, with a maximum capacity of 410 litres with the rear seats in place.
It may be a coupe, but the Peugeot 407 is a sizable car and as such is one of the few four-seat coupes that can actually carry adults in the back. The rear seats still split and fold – like the saloon the car is based on – and retain the familiar ski hatch. Leave them in place and the 400-litre boot should swallow most holiday luggage  with ease.

Costs

For your £5k budget you’ll  find only 3 Series Coupes produced  between 1999 and 2006 available, and diesel examples are generally  out of reach unless you are happy with very high mileages. However the 320i petrols are relatively effcient, though as they’re  older than the Peugeot, maintenance costs may increase.

Peugeot's 407 Coupe

If you want to keep costs low avoid the 3.0-litre V6 petrol and stick with the diesel – the 2.0-litre HDI will manage around 50mpg and emits less than 160g/km of Co2 for low tax bills. It’s newer than the equivalent priced BMW as well, so should require less maintenance at less specialist garages too.

 

  BMW 3 Series Coupe Peugeot 407 Coupe

Engines:

Power:

0-62mph:

Economy:

Fuel Capacity:

CO2 Emissions:

Road tax:

Insurance groups:

Boot space:

Petrol and Diesel, 2.0 to 3.0 litres

147-227 bhp

6.3-9.8 seconds

27-48 mpg

63 litres

153-226 g/km

£175-£475

29-35

410 litres

Petrol and Diesel, 2.0 to 3.0 litres

130-208 bhp

8.1-9.8 seconds

27-48 mpg

67 litres

156-242 g/km

£175-£475

31-39

400 litres

Verdict

Peugeot 407 - Winner

Plenty of people will discount the Peugeot on badge and image alone, and should they choose the BMW instead they’ll own an accomplished and stylish coupe. It may not be as spacious as the 407 but the 3 Series is better  built and feels more special, while  the large engine range means there’s a model for everyone.

If your priority is enjoyment behind  the wheel then BMW is a better  choice, but for those looking to transport four occupants and their luggage  in comfort, without breaking the bank, and in style then the Peugeot 407 coupe is the winner – especially since the budget bags a much newer example.