Peugeot's clean diesel to rival Rover 75.
The new Peugeot 607 model will make its UK debut in October at the London Motor Show after its world debut next month at Frankfurt.
Peugeot claims the high pressure direct injection diesel version of its new car, which will be imported via its UK headquarters in Coventry, has achieved a big breakthrough with a "clean" engine.
How the public will react to this HDI technical advance, which destroys microscopic exhaust particles before they can escape, will be anxiously awaited.
Petrol and diesel versions built in France will go on sale in Britain next summer. Sales start on the Continent in March 2000.
Other competitors of the 607 include the Vauxhall Omega, the Renault Laguna, the BMW 5-series, and the Audi A6.
At their height, sales of diesel-engined cars accounted for more than a quarter of the UK market, but fears about emissions curbed the rise as the public cooled its support.
Diesel's share of the market is still declining.
This made Peugeot, which has not lost its faith in diesel, admit there were marketing problems - also due to the high cost of diesel fuel in the UK - and it set out to cure the cause.
The diesel engine is not frowned upon in France and Germany where it has had a better reception from the buying public.
Peugeot saw the problem with controlling the microscopic diesel emissions as the only barrier to a successful diesel engine.
The smooth drive which such engines now give is already tempting some drivers to switch from petrol.
The company hopes its new engine may encourage greater sales of diesel-powered cars.
More advanced diesel technology is believed to be on the way from Peugeot. Its HDI technology is already in the Peugeot 306.
The technology not only makes the car engine cleaner but increases fuel consumption, the company said.
Rover 75 diesel has had excellent reviews with its BMW-made engine and, combined with the Peugeot diesel, the sector could find itself recovering some of its former popularity.
The 607 diesel engine is a new engine and, with 136bhp, it is powerful.
Beyond the fanfares that surround any new car - and the 607 is not short of ear-splitting self-acclaim - Peugeot's refusal to cut back its diesel research may now be about to pay off.
Other features of the 607 include electronic sensors to detect loss of tyre pressure, curtain airbags inside the roof to protect passengers' heads, automatic folding of door mirrors while parking, and automatic headlights which come on in rain or poor light.
The 607 will feature three new engines with a 160bhp petrol for the 2.2-litre version, a 136bhp for the 2.2-litre diesel, and a 210bhp three-litre V6 24-valve petrol engine.
Prices are expected to start at about pounds 25,000.
Volkswagen's Sociedad Espanola de Automoviles de Turismo said it plans to launch its new Leon model at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.
SEAT said the Leon will have six gears and four-wheel drive, and it will be directed at the largest segment of the European market for new cars.
The new car can be powered by SEAT's new 1.8-litre, 20-valve turbo-charged engine, which can reach speeds of up 140mph.
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|Publication:||The Birmingham Post (England)|
|Date:||Aug 24, 1999|
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