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Mattei said this new grille plays to the next generation of electrified cars and is likely to be used again in future.

The interior was developed alongside the 308 – “our job was to balance making it the 408 but with the best bits of the 308”, said Mattei. It features Peugeot’s latest i-Cockpit layout, including a digital dial display and a 10.0in infotainment touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and has extended storage space.

Peugeot hopes the 408 will attract new customers to the brand, having positioned it price-wise between the 308 and 3008 (the latter of which starts at £33,225), despite it being closer in length to the 508 saloon.

“Customers might be compact hatchback owners who want more roominess but the same driving experience,” said 408 product manager Aurélie Bresson, “or compact SUV owners looking for a more distinctive car and a more dynamic driving experience, or larger saloon owners looking for modern lines while maintaining a longer car.

“They have in common that they’re open-minded and don’t just buy a car for functionality.”

No threat to the 508

Peugeot positions the 408 as a take on the traditional saloon, rather than an SUV (hence the three-digit rather than four-digit name), but it’s adamant that there’s still a place for the larger 508.

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