All-new project comes with all the features we would expect. What makes the Peugeot 408 surprising is how it interprets items we take for granted
Car wheels are always a beautiful topic to discuss. Upgrading them is a great first step if you enjoy tuning but are on a budget. If you want to go further and have the necessary knowledge, working with their size can improve handling. And if you just enjoy them, there are tons of stock photos to delight yourself with. We like this topic so much that we have given it a dedicated page – which you can check here.
The reason why we are bringing it up is the car above. That gorgeous four-door coupé Peugeot has filled with technology, electrification and style. Oh, so much style. Since some of you may have not read about the whole car yet, we will start with a general introduction. Then, we will move to the topic that motivated writing this article. In other words, those beautiful wheels and what potential they have in the market.
The new Peugeot 408
This name was first used in China. It was simply the sedan version of the 308 on sale at the time. The car also appeared in Latin America and Russia but had a quite unremarkable life. The plot twist would happen when the Chinese branch released the 308 Sedan to slot below the 408… And to drive it to irrelevance for once and for all. Fortunately, the global Peugeot decided to turn things around and did a great job.
The new generation takes after predecessors 406 coupé and 407 sedan. They enjoyed a premium position in the line and knew how to use it; both used smooth body shapes marked by lights and grilles of strong contours. The all-new 408 moved to sharp creases, angular details, and heavier inspiration on felines, it is true. But its personality is just as expansive and flamboyant as a whole; it is perfect for extrovert drivers.
When it comes to technical bits, there are no real news – and this is good news. That stylish coupé profile encases the EMP platform, which Peugeot is using in many current cars. It brings the i-Cockpit with small steering wheel plus gauge cluster above it, and cutting-edge technology. Highly capable infotainment is there as well as a long item list including self-driving actions. But let us go back to the wheels for now.
What about the wheels?
We all know that wheels are important for car design. There are many possibilities in their design, and the industry strives to match each one to a different car type. However, there is a tendency for automakers to stick to certain styles because they are sure to get good feedback. Mercedes-AMG, for example, has been using the same wheel design on many cars; the main variations are the color and the number of spokes.
The new Peugeot 408 stands out for subverting that. First of all, both wheels released with the car come in dark gray with silver accents. Besides, they use chrome, regular and textured finishes depending on the region. Those are all great resources to reach an aesthetic appearance with small openings; the latter are common on electrified car models because they are more aerodynamic, which helps them save energy.
The hybrid version goes further, as the picture above shows; it abandons radial symmetry. In other words, instead of applying spokes in patterns that resemble a star or a flower, it uses something new. To be more specific, a creased geometry that looks like a lion violently scratched the wheel. Peugeot has transformed one of the strongest standards of the car world into yet another opportunity to establish its brand image.
Why are those wheels important?
That idea is comparable to the Egg of Columbus; it looks quite simple now that it has been executed. The asymmetrical design opens many possibilities. Automakers can use wheels to show their logo in a bigger version; to extend any visual item of the body; to stand out with something totally different… or reaffirm their identity. The Peugeot 408 has found a simple, yet strong way to stay in the memory of any car fan.
In terms of production, most wheels offered in urban cars are made of cast alloy. They are relatively easy to manufacture; the process is more flexible than forging. In theory, one could argue that the mechanical resistance varies according to the wheel’s radial position. While that is true, we also have to consider that this industry develops everything with CAD; it can identify and prevent pretty much any possible issues.
As usual, it will take time for people to get familiar with these wheels. After all, symmetrical wheels have been the norm for cars. On AutomoBible, our bet is that, once Peugeot and other automakers show more beautiful examples, this idea will take off. Wheel design will end getting a whole new dimension for them to work with; that will be an important step for the continuous task of developing a strong image for cars.