Genuinely intrigued: the Peugeot 405 Mi16
Never seen one in the metal before! Doesn’t sound like there are very many likely to be left (fewer than 5,000 sold in the US from 1989-91), but the oldest ones will be available to import in oh, a little over two years 🙂 Might be worth a closer look. From Automobile:
August 6, 1991, the day that Peugeot joined French compatriots Citroen, Renault, and Simca and officially gave up on the U.S. car market. The 405 was the last new French car introduced here, and the Mi16 was the athlete of the lineup, with a boy-racer body kit that looks great even today. Contemporary road tests smothered the Pug with praise for its exceptional chassis balance, comparing its handling to that of a rear-wheel-drive sport sedan — or even a race car. Its steering was called every positive name in the book, and the driving position, pedal placement, and shifter were all lauded. Those are attributes largely shared with lesser 405 models — the biggest differentiator for the Mi16 was its sixteen-valve engine.
In the 1980s, a 7000-rpm sixteen-valve four-cylinder was an exotic piece of machinery reserved for the performance elite. It’s not much of a stretch to consider the Mi16 in the same league as the original BMW M3 or the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16. Sure, the 405 is front-wheel drive, but the Mi16’s handling belied its layout, and the underhood screamer produced enough power — more than Peugeot’s own 2.8-liter V-6 — to run with many of its six-cylinder competitors.
We were hoping to find an old MotorWeek review, but no such luck. So instead, we’ll leave you with this.
Not an Mi16, but the most famous 405 advert:
And of course, the most well-known motorsport version (although it has little in common with the road-going version)— the 405 from the beautiful and legendary short film Climb Dance: