The speed-sensitive power steering has little feel, but there’s a better simulation of feedback than you’ll find in most electrohydraulic set-ups and it’s well weighted and responsive.

All that body control comes at a price. On UK roads, the firm springs and dampers fail to prevent constant fidget. Lateral intrusions cause the back end to skip and there’s more suspension noise than we’d like, too.

Verdict – 3.5/5

Make no mistake: the 407 is a good car. In fact, it does a few things quite brilliantly, and sports car dynamics and brave looks are two qualities that we hold in high regard. However, we do have reservations about the 407’s ride quality and practicality. It only just misses a four-star score.

A surprise awaited as at Brands Hatch – Alastair Clements

At our 2004 Britain’s Best Driver’s Car event, alongside the Lamborghini Gallardo, Porsche 911 GT3 RS and Caterham R500 Evolution sat a Peugeot 2.0-litre saloon. It was the high point of a remarkable year for the pretty but porridgy 406 replacement, Peugeot’s attempt to reignite the spark of driver appeal that had so marked out the 405.

It certainly worked on paper. Through the bends of Brands Hatch, the 407 pulled 1.0g, then an unheard-of figure for a mass-produced repmobile. The car’s double-wishbone front and multilink rear suspension endowed it with fantastic body control, loads of grip and remarkable agility. It looked quite unlike anything else in the class, too.