Its appearance is similar to the Alfa Romeo 164, launched the same year and also styled by Pininfarina. It used TU/XU petrol and XUD diesel engines.
In July 1987, Peugeot unveiled ten versions of the 405 simultaneously for the 1988 model year, with sales on the continent beginning before Christmas, and sales in the United Kingdombeginning in March. Deliveries began in October 1987 for the saloon, and May 1988 for the estate. No coupé was ever offered to the public, unlike the 504 and later 406, as only two examples of the purpose-built 405 Turbo-16 (not to be confused with 405 T16) were made. The 405 was available as a 4-door only. Four-cylinder petrol engines included 65, 92, 110, 125, and 160 hp (48, 69, 82, 93, and 119 kW) units. A 1.8-litre diesel engines, with or without a turbo (70 and 90 hp (52 and 67 kW)) was added to the range during 1988 as was the 5-door estate.
The 405 was the last Peugeot vehicle sold in the United States, on sale between 1988 and 1991, including the Mi16 model.
The 405 was a popular model in Thailand, following the success of the Peugeot 505 after the Government of Thailand cancelled a restriction on CBU car imports in the late 1980s.
By 1989, 500,000 vehicles had been produced, and the 1 millionth 405 left the Sochaux factory the next year. A minor facelift in 1991 included a change in transmission with the BE1 replaced by the BE3 and updates to the dashboard, steering wheel, and soundproofing.
In 1993, a revised 405, referred to as the Phase 2 model, was introduced featuring a new rear design with new rear lights and boot design, and a revised interior with a new dashboard. The turbocharged, 16v, 4WD 405 T16 (LHD only) was also introduced. The 405's replacement, the 406, was introduced in 1995, and the 405 saloon was discontinued in Europe, whilst the estate continued on sale in Europe until 1997. About 2.5 million vehicles were sold worldwide.
The 405 has been manufactured in a number of world-wide locations. Designed in France, it has been manufactured in:
- Europe: from 1987 to 1997 at Sochaux (France) and Ryton (UK).
- Zimbabwe: until 2002, by Quest.
- Egypt: Wagih Abaza produced the 405.
- Iran: produced by Iran Khodro since mid-1990.
- Chile: Produced by Franco-Chilena in Los Andes, including STI Phase II model.
- Argentina: Several saloon models, including diesels were built in the Villa Bosch Peugeot facility from 1992 to 1999. In this country the 405 has been an extremely popular car, with total sales of over 500,000 units.
- Poland: Produced by FSO Lublin.
- Taiwan: Produced by Yu-Tien Motors from 1989-1995 (Production ceased after bankruptcy).
The 405 has been available in left-hand and right-hand-drive versions, as a saloon and estate, in front-wheel, and four-wheel drive. The 405 range included three petrol engines and two diesel engines, all four-cylinder with no 6-cylinder option, in a variety of states of tune and specification. The range was tailored to suit different export markets. The 1.6-litre saloon featured a low drag co-efficient of Cd=0.29, with other models varying up to Cd=0.33. The 1.4-litre (1,360 cc) engine was fitted with a four-spreed manual gearbox. It produced 70 hp (52 kW) at 5600 rpm. The 1.6-litre (1,580 cc) engine was fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox and produced 92 hp (69 kW) at 6000 rpm. The 1.9-litre (1,905 cc) engine was available with a five speed manual gearbox, with an option of an automatic in the lower powered version. The 8-valve version of the engine was available in two levels of tune; 110 hp (82 kW) or 125 hp (93 kW). A 16-valve version was available with the Mi16 model and this produced 160 hp (120 kW) at 6500 rpm and could reach a top speed of 220 km/h.
In 1993, the T16 homologation special was introduced with a 2.0-litre 16-valve turbocharged XU10J4TE engine with watercooled chargecooler, constant four-wheel drive with 53/47% power distribution and self-regulating hydraulic rear axle. The T16 produced 200 hp (150 kW) at 1.1 bar (16 psi) (normal boost) 220 hp at 1.3 bar (19 psi) (overboost) for 45 seconds. 1061 examples were built, 60 of them for the French Police.
The diesel options included a 1.9-litre (1,905 cc) producing 70 bhp (52 kW) at 4600 rpm or a turbocharged 1.8-litre (1,769 cc) producing 90 bhp (67 kW)
- GE - 1.6 L 8-valve, basic model (Style in UK)
- GL/GR - 1.6L 8-valve, 1.9L 8-valve
- GLD/GRD - 1.9L 8-valve diesel
- GLDt/GRDt/GTDt 1.8L 8-valve turbo diesel
- GRi/SRi/GTX - 1.9 L 125 bhp 8-valve fuel injected, based on the same engine as the 205 GTI 1.9.
- Mi16 - 1.9L 16-valve fuel injected all alloy engine, with 160 bhp (119 kW; 162 PS). The engine (XU9J4) of the Mi16 was later used by Peugeot as the basis for the engine in the 206 WRC, winning two championships.
- Style - 1.4 L 8-valve, 1.6L 8-valve, 1.9 L 8-valve diesel
- GL/GLdt - 1.4 L 8-valve, 1.6L 8-valve, 1.8L 8-valve, 1.9 L 8-valve diesel, 1.9 L 8-valve turbo diesel
- GR/GRdt - 1.6 L 8-valve, 1.8L 8-valve, 2.0L 8-valve, 1.9 L 8-valve diesel, 1.9 L 8-valve turbo diesel
- SRi/SRdt - 2.0 L 8-valve, 1.9 L 8-valve inter-cooled turbo diesel, with rear spoiler and sports styling
- STi/STdt - 2.0 L 8-valve, luxury model, 1.9 L 8-valve turbo diesel
- Hunter - 1.9 L 8-valve turbo diesel, Special edition
- Mi16 - 2.0 L 16-valve, 155 bhp (116 kW; 157 PS)
- Mi16 Le Mans - 2.0 L 16-valve, Special edition Mi16, came with special edition red paint, alcantara (leather/suede) seats and alloys. 1,000 produced
- Style - 1.6L 8-valve, 1.9 L 8-valve diesel, 1.9 L 8-valve turbo diesel
- Quasar - 1.8L 8-valve, 1.9 L 8-valve diesel, 1.9L 8-valve turbo diesel
- GLX - 1.6L 8-valve, 1.8L 8-valve, 1.9 8-valve diesel, 1.9 8-valve turbo diesel
- GTX - 2.0L 8-valve, 1.9 8-valve diesel, 1.9 8-valve turbo diesel
- Executive - 2.0L 8-valve, 1.9 8-valve turbo diesel
1996–1997 range (estate models only)
- Style - 1.8L 8-valve, 1.9L 8-valve diesel, 1.9L 8-valve turbo diesel
- LX - 1.8L 8-valve, 1.9L 8-valve diesel, 1.9L 8-valve turbo diesel
- GLX - 2.0L 8-valve, 1.9L 8-valve turbo diesel
- Executive - 2.0L 8-valve, 1.9L 8-valve turbo diesel
North American variants
Three versions of the 405 saloon were sold in North America from the end of 1988; the 1.9 (110 hp (82 kW)) DL and S, and the Mi16 (150 hp (110 kW)). The DL and S were available in estate form called Sportswagen.
Iran Khodro also produces several models derived from the 405. The Peugeot Pars, also known as the Peugeot Persia, is a facelifted 405 with a redesigned front end including clear lamp lenses and a revised rear. The Peugeot RD is a rear wheel drive car which has a 405 body and mechanical parts from the Paykan. Since 2006, it has been sold in certain Middle Eastern markets as the Peugeot ROA.
The Samand, which was designed to be a "national car" for Iran, is also based on the 405 platform. It replaced the long-running Paykan which was itself based on the Hillman Hunter, an ancestor (in corporate ownership and model positioning terms) of the 405, having been produced by the Rootes Group and Chrysler UK from 1963 until 1979 - the year that Peugeot purchased Chrysler's European operations.
The most famous motorsport version of the 405, the rallying 405 Turbo 16 GR, was very different from the road-going 405. It was built in a coupe body style in mid-engine configuration, had constant four wheel drive with electronically adjustable center differential like the 205 T16, as it was based on the same technology. At least four were produced, competing in hill climbs and the Paris-Dakar rally during the World Rally Championship. Today, three are in the official Peugeot museum, and the other is in a private collection.
- 1988: Finnish driver Ari Vatanen set a new record in the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb (an award winning film of the drive titled Climb Dance was made by Jean Louis Mourey). Kankkunen and Piironen win the Paris-Dakar Rally in the 405 T16 GR.
- 1989: Victory in the Paris-Dakar rally by the Vatanen-Ickx team in a 405 T16 GR.
- 1990: Victory in the Paris-Dakar rally by the Vatanen-Berglund team in a 405 T16 GR.
Racing 405s much closer in specification to the road-going models were campaigned for several years in European touring car racing during the early to mid 1990s, most notably in the British Touring Car Championship and the French Supertourisme Championship. In Britain, the 405 did not achieve much success, but the car won the French series in both 1994 and 1995, in the hands of Laurent Aïello.