The Peugeot 405 Mi16
The best French Q-car
Take a look at this classically handsome Peugeot saloon. The type that were everywhere 15 years ago but nowadays are nowhere to be seen. The once respectable middle-management cars that ended up as cheap runarounds before they inevitably were stolen/crashed/scrapped/rusted away/demolition derbied into non-existence. Now take a look again, this car isn’t just any Peugeot 405 saloon but the ultra-rare, ultra-fast Mi16 variant.
My first knowledge of this car I’m ashamed to say was rather recently, in a copy of Autocar. Whilst there is no excuse for not knowing what might be the best Peugeot saloon ever, I will say in my defense that as I was only born in 1998 by the time I could distinguish cars, the vast majority of Mi16s had met their maker.
The car fascinated me to see in that 90s special issue of Autocar. The fact it was chosen to compete against such thoroughbreds as the Ferrari F355, Honda NSX and Porsche 968 Clubsport meant the 405 must have been special. Parked next to these instantly  recognisable sports cars the Peugeot looked so unassuming it could have been 
the car used to carry all the equipment. But the 405 drew so much acclaim in the feature it must have been something special.
As I said, whilst the car looked unassuming initially, the small details on it really set the Mi16 out from a regular 405. The subtle body-kit is equally as forgettable as it is aggressive whilst nothing else would really signal it out as a performance car. The ultimate Q-car is you will. Even the badge isn’t as evocative as say a BMW M5 or Audi S4, it is such an unassuming car to look at.
As for its engineering, however, the engine is the real stand out feature. The 1.9 litre, 16 valve engine was a naturally aspirated of the T16 engine developed for the 205 group-B rally car. Whilst its output was only 160 bhp, the car was 
decently fast thanks in part due to its low weight. The Mi16 was only 1,100 kg thanks to its lightweight construction which meant the 160 bhp was more than enough to propel the 405 to a top speed of 135 mph.
The lightweight construction may have helped it in a straight line, but its main benefit came during cornering. The 405 came from an era of Peugeot where chassis refinement was an essential of their cars. Both the 205 GTI and 309 GTI  were made during this period and both were renowned for their quick§, inviting steering and sporty suspension setting. The 405 was no different. Reading how eagerly the 405 would transverse a difficult B-road showed how brilliant sporty 
Peugeot could be. 
Production lasted from 1987 all the way until 1995 when the 405 was replaced but unfortunately, the Mi16 name and philosophy was consigned to the history books. The Mi16 is a brilliant sporty saloon and one that ought to be better 
known, it is a pity they’ve all rusted away.
Back to Top