Buying Guide Peugeot 406 Coupé

Buying Guide Peugeot 406 Coupé

This dramatic grand tourer makes for a useable, beautiful, and very affordable classic.


Photography JOHN COLLEY

Buying Guide How to bag a Franco-Italian Peugeot 406 Coupé beauty from £800

Surviving examples of this stylish coupé are dwindling because of uncaring ownership and increasingly scarce parts, so if you fancy putting on your driveway, now’s the time to strike. The badge may be French, but Peugeot’s 406 Coupé is effectively an Italian exotic. Originally designed by Ferrari 456/F355 designer Lorenzo Ramaciotti as a Fiat Coupé proposal, it was adopted by Peugeot which added corporate touches once Fiat opted for Chris Bangle’s concept instead. But it was still hand-built in Italy, alongside Alfa Romeos. Design cues drew comparisons with Ferrari.

Peugeot 406 Coupé

Combine that with Peugeot’s legendary handling expertise, lusty engines and saloon practicality, and the result is hugely appealing. Get a good one and it will be a rewarding experience. To guide us through the ins and outs, we called upon specialists Dean Hunter, CM Chambers, and BB Autos.

Which one to choose?

  • Launched in 1996, early 406 Coupés came with a choice of 2.0-litre four-cylinder and 3.0-litre V6 petrol engines, and five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearboxes. SE trim added headlamp washers and leather seats.
  • A redesign, refreshing the saloon-derived interior with more bespoke touches, took place in 1999.
  • 2000 Settant’anni edition V6 celebrated 70 years of Pininfarina. At the same time, 400 Millennial ‘Silver’ and ‘Black’ edition four-cyls were launched, with alloys inspired by Peugeot’s Nautilus concept car.
  • The 2.2-litre HDi diesel was introduced in 2001.
  • A 2.2-litre petrol four-cyl replaced the 2.0 in 2002.
  • A facelift, with a grille similar to the incoming 407’s, was applied in the Coupé’s final model year, 2003.


The Coupé doesn’t share any of its outer panels with its saloon or estate stablemates, although their internal structures are similar. Bodywork lasts well, with corrosion rarely an issue thanks to galvanised panels. The biggest and most likely problem is with the bumpers, which are made of brittle plastic so they damage easily. Effective repairs are difficult; decent replacement bumpers are scarce and expensive – £300 each second-hand if you’re lucky, and they’ll probably need sanding, filling and painting.

Coupé doorskins can suffer from stress cracks under the mirrors, the door check straps can weaken (new ones are cheap, and necessary to keep the heavy doors at bay) and the foglight lenses can mist up, but these are easily removed and cleaned.


All engines have a cambelt that should have been changed within the last six years or 72,000 miles. On the four-cylinder engines it’s a DIY job, but the V6 is not for the faint-hearted. A four-cylinder parts kit costs £150-£200, while a specialist charges around £750 to replace a V6 belt including a new tensioner, rollers and water pump.

Buying Guide Peugeot 406 Coupé

Engines are strong, but once worn can be swapped for a decent used motor cheaply. The turbodiesels can clock up spectacular mileages, but they’re more of a lottery because they are more likely to suffer from a failed EGR valve/dual-mass flywheel (DMF) and leaking injectors. A replacement flywheel on its own costs £500 – double that figure for fitting. If you’re looking at a 406 fitted with an HDi engine that won’t start, check the electric fuel pump.

A replacement is £100-£150, although fitting is straightforward and done within an hour. Less easy is refilling the additive tank for the emissions control system. This needs doing every 60,000 miles or so, and isn’t a DIY job; three litres costs £120 and the ECU has to be updated once done, so the car knows the tank has been filled. The 2.2 HDi has a vacuum system that works flaps within the intake manifold. The diaphragms fail and they’re easy to replace, but there’s an array of pipes and a tank which can split – and fault-finding can be very involved.

Other glitches include leaking sump gaskets and plugs (easily replaced), along with failing ignition coil packs on the petrol engines; new ones cost £35 apiece and there’s one per cylinder. Engine mounts are weak, especially on the V6; listen for knocks – although replacements are only a tenner each. If the Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) is dirty, the acceleration will be lumpy, but sensors aren’t difficult or costly to replace. The cable for the TPS can stretch, leading to slow pick up, but can be adjusted – and new cables are cheap and easy to fit. If the engine management light illuminates, it’s probably a faulty catalytic converter or failed oxygen sensor, but they’re cheap to sort.

Steering and suspension

All 406s came with hydraulic power steering, with a variable-rate system on everything bar the 1.8. Check for any leaks. Peugeot kept manufacturing costs down by reducing the spec of a raft of bushes, ball joints and bearings. As a result, while items such as drop links, track rod ends and wheel bearings can wear out on any car, with the 406 you need to check all of these items to see if they’re tired. The good news is that these new parts are readily available and cheap.

You’re unlikely to find a 406 that’s still sporting its factory-fitted springs and dampers. Whether or not replacement parts have been fitted, broken springs are likely – especially if the car has been driven regularly over rough roads and speed bumps. New springs are around £50 per corner, while dampers are £70 apiece, plus £100 to fit each one.


Radiators also corrode, then leak, while the electric cooling fan tends to fail. It can be the motor, the sensor or relay that controls everything. These parts aren’t costly, but if the car overheats it can be irreparably damaged before the temperature gauge on the dash suggests that there’s a problem.


Discs can warp and judder as you brake. The front discs need the most TLC, but new ones for four-cylinder cars only cost about £30 each. Beware a squealing V6, though – they have expensive Brembo brakes that need £130 pads.

You need to ensure the ABS warning light comes on when the ignition is switched on, then goes out after a few seconds. If it stays on, it’s probably a failed sensor, which means an automatic MoT failure. But all is not lost, as replacing a sensor isn’t difficult or costly; budget £80 to do it.

Interior trim

The interior trim tends to last well, but check for cracking and wear – especially on the driver’s bolster. If heated seats are fitted check they work, because the wires in the seat pad tend to break.

The dash covering can lift around the vents, but it’s an easy fix. The headlining can sag at the rear; gluing it back into place is a pain because of poor access. More worryingly, blocked air-con drains or damaged door seals can leak water into the cabin. Once the footwells are waterlogged, chaos can ensue – especially in the driver’s footwell, where an ECU (or BSI in Peugeot speak) lives.


Electrics are a weak spot, with an array of potential problems waiting to catch you out; a multiplex system was fitted from 2000. The first thing to check is the switchgear – and in particular the column stalks, whose contacts are fragile. Even if the switchgear is working, some of the relays don’t last long, and while nothing is especially costly to fix, pinpointing a problem can be time consuming.

Some early 406s featured a security system which consisted of a keypad into which you had to enter a code. The wires for this can be fragile, and if they fracture or break you could be left with a car that won’t start. Your best bet is to bypass the keypad, which is what many owners have already done. Other common problems include faulty airbag sensors, crackling speakers because of oxidised connectors or dry solder joints in the head unit, and pixellated multi-function displays. The latter glitch could be repairable; the others are easy enough to fix, but time-consuming.

The actuator to recirculate the cabin air is tricky to replace, while on earlier models the unit that reads the gearbox speed sensor can fail. This drives the speedometer, but thankfully it’s a simple swap – the unit is under the glovebox.

What to pay
  • You might find a four-cyl Coupé for as little as £800 with an MoT, but it may be in need of extensive electrical repairs or mechanically neglected. There isn’t much difference between 2.0, 2.2 and HDi values.
  • Good low-mileage four-cyls start at £1600, rising to £3000 for the best, although very low-mileage concours examples may command more.
  • Big money is reserved for V6s. £3500 gets a cloth-trimmed automatic, rising to £6000 for the best Settant’annis and manual SEs.
‘The Coupé is effectively an Italian exotic, hand-built alongside Alfas in Italy’.

Italian styling, French chassis and bargain-basement prices – but there are some buyerbewares to consider.

V6s are largely solid but have a few quirks to watch out for.

A huge range of trim options can complicate partssourcing missions.

The ubiquity of the 406 family helps ownership, however Coupé-specific parts pose a problem.

Owning a Peugeot 406 Coupé

Jonathan Moses

The 406 V6 in the pictures is Jonathan Moses’ second coupé. Says Jonathan, ‘I bought it eight years ago and it took nine months to find a manual V6; many have been neglected. Today it’s a second car, but practical for everyday use, with a big boot and folding rear seats for added usability. Comfort is excellent; the Coupé is at its best on long journeys. In 2017 I drove it to Milan for an international club meeting and arrived feeling completely fresh after two days on the road.

‘They’re so practical. It’s a coupé, but it seats four adults in comfort, with plenty of room for all their luggage in the boot. The multi-link rear suspension means it rides comfortably, it’s supple/ All of that makes it an ideal next step for a family classic motorist who’s outgrown a 205GTi – it’s great fun to drive and yet it’s even tough enough to be used as a tow car, if necessary.

Carl Chambers

Carl runs Peugeot specialist CM Chambers Cars in Suffolk and has owned and run several 406 Coupés in both four- and six-cylinder guises. Says Carl, ‘I’ve been into Peugeots for over 30 years, bought my first in 1990 and started working on them in 1996. I service and repair all models, with 406 saloons and estates still popular with those who want practical, budget transport as well as increasing numbers of classic enthusiasts appreciating the Coupé for its styling and drive. ‘The basic problem with taking on a 406 Coupé project is the very low values of these cars, which are unlikely to rise soon. So any major work is hard to justify financially, but you could buy a tatty one for buttons and use second-hand parts. The huge array of colours and trims mean it’s a bit of a lottery finding matching items.

‘It’s no problem sourcing mechanical and service parts, whether pattern or original. However, many other genuine items are getting scarce, although pattern bits are often available. The main issue is Coupé-specific bits – front fog lights, headlights, bumpers and door seals are really hard to find. The V6 induction system is inefficient and the ‘sock’ to the airbox deteriorates and can collapse, cutting off the air supply. The low air intake can also suck in water, so it’s worth replacing with a scoop intake to the original airbox or replacing the induction set-up for easier breathing.’

Sponsored by Carole Nash Insurance

Peter McIlvenny of specialist classic car insurer Carole Nash says, ‘The 406 Coupé is a timeless Nineties classic; its simple lines just shout out Pininfarina from this period. In fact, its simplicity is its beauty. But with limited numbers on the road, it’s likely to be a long search for the right car. Expect to pay around £5k for a good clean V6, but I honestly wouldn’t expect values to rocket over the next ten years, partly due to a relatively plentiful supply of cars in France, because these will hold values down even with the inconvenience of left-hand drive. With this in mind I would recommend that if you’ve got your heart set on one, buy the best you can afford with a solid service history and straight body because any project vehicle is unlikely to see any positive financial return.’

Classic car insurance quotes: 0333 005 7541 or

1998 Peugeot 406 Coupé £1500

107,000 miles, Pininfarina coupé, 1998 S-reg, 3.0-litre petrol, automatic, full red leather interior and walnut dash, central locking, electric and heated seats. Timing belt, water pump and new radiator recent fitted. Reconditioned gearbox at 85,000 miles. Approximately five months MoT remaining.

matt 1 month ago #


I'm looking for a 406 coupe, left hand drive, V6, manual transmission, low miles, leather interior. Does this car exist? or is it only in my dreams? my memory recalls seeing one in Japan, but having never seen another I am doubting myself bigtime.

matt 1 month ago #


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