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:

~ by velofinds on September 23, 2011.

10 Responses to “Genuinely intrigued: the Peugeot 405 Mi16”

  1. These cars were supposedly awesome but let down by Peugeot’s abominable dealer network as well as being quirky and French. I like them a lot regardless.

  2. Word of warning…nobody simply dabbles in Peugeot. They tend to be full blown obsessions. Just thought I would let you know.

    -Fmr 505 Turbo owner.

  3. i owned an mi16 and mi16x4 back in the late ’80s, early ’ the time these were the finest handling mid-sized sports saloon. not a rocket but great handling and very comfortable. let down by dodgy build and poor reliability. later there was a four wheel drive version, the mi16x4 which was a sweeter handler, especially n bad conditions. extra weight with no power to compensate meant it was quite a bit slower. never a big seller, down under we got them in all sorts of mongrel specs 😦

  4. I’ve seen a couple of these in Manhattan – always a surprise, but here they don’t have the hen’s teeth rarity that I expect of a French performance car.

  5. I’m currently in the process of refurbishing my 1992 Mi16 (UK spec, 1.9 engine)
    Fantastic car, and I’ve never owned a car with such a balance between ride and handling. Peugeot’s chassis engineers really knew what they were doing in the late 1980’s.

  6. I had one of the very first 1900 M16 – best car I ever had – was suposed to be 160BHP and was faster than my current Focus ST 2500 ????? – what a great engine and car combination.


  7. I had a 405 Mi16 and it was an early 160 BHp version , which had been fitted with new camshafts, air filter and exhaust and it flew!. Similar 2.0 16v cars of the time were just no match for it, even the Astra GTE 16v (Opel kadet GSI) were left behind, it was a fantastically fast car , with just French build quality..or lack of it and a very light rear end to let it down. I wish I had another. I did own a standard Mi16 too but that was after the beast so whilt it was excellent it was not quite the same.

    • my dad had one when i was just a little boy, and i’m turning 30 i stil loveit

  8. My husband has a 1989 Peugeot MI16, that he is considering putting up for sale. Any suggestions on where to find an interested buyer?

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