Peugeot 408 audio review: A 10-speaker Focal system

The Peugeot 408 is a rather unique hybrid vehicle, which shares many similarities with its sibling, the Citroen C5 X Hybrid. The Peugeot is a bit more fun to drive but still provides excellent fuel efficiency. See it as a sportier alternative to the Citroen and among one of the best hybrids on the market – we gave it our coveted Best Buy award.

In terms of its audio configuration, across the trim range, the Peugeot 408 houses six speakers. However, if you opt for the top-spec GT trim, you’ll have the option to add a 10-speaker Focal system for an additional £600; this is the system that we have on review.

Click here to read the full Peugeot 408 review

Peugeot 408 audio setup

To tinker with the vehicle’s audio settings, you’ll have to navigate to the appropriate menu on the 10″ infotainment system – here are our optimal settings for the Focal system:

  • Balance: All passengers
  • Treble: +4
  • Mid: +0
  • Bass: +0
  • Centre Speaker: +2
  • Subwoofer: +2

In order to connect to the vehicle’s system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both supported over a wired and wireless connection. Of course, Bluetooth is also an option with the SBC codec supported only, which is rather disappointing as most also support the higher-quality AAC codec. Nonetheless, we’d always suggest plugging in your smartphone in order to attain the best audio fidelity.

Moving onto media controls, they can be accessed through the display, via the volume knob found just below and through the physical buttons located on the steering wheel.

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Peugeot 408 audio performance

For a demo of the Peugeot 408’s audio system head on over to our YouTube channel.

In terms of its audio configuration, the stock six-speaker system houses a singular 165mm woofer in each of the four doors and 25mm tweeters in each of the A-pillars.

If you opt for the GT trim instead, you’ll have the opportunity to add the £600 Focal system. This will net you a 10-speaker configuration that outputs 690 Watts of power. The door speakers receive an upgrade to midrange/woofers drivers with a TMD surround and Polyglass cone; then, there’s the additional centre channel with a Polyglass Cone, tweeters within each of the rear doors and a triple voice coil Power Flower subwoofer.

Despite its rather funny name, the included subwoofer certainly bolsters the vehicle’s sub-bass response; songs that have a pronounced low-end rumble come to life. While it’s not quite up there with more premium systems that offer an even better lower-end extension, it’s still a notable upgrade over the stock configuration that omits a subwoofer altogether.

As for the mid-bass tones, they’re almost flawless – both in quality and quantity. In its default EQ, Tiësto vs. Diplo ft. Busta Rhymes’ song titled ‘C’mon (Catch ‘Em By Surprise)’ has a real punch to it. Your head will be bobbing to the beat. The only means that the frequency band could have been improved, would have been to provide dedicated woofers  within each of the four doors.

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Instead, the French audio manufacturer has chosen to combine the larger door speaker and turn it into a midrange/woofer. Unsurprisingly, this affects mid-range clarity, with the lower mids sounding predominantly pushed back and recessed. Should you add any notches to the ‘Mid’ EQ, you’ll find the system produces a somewhat artificial sound; leading us to believe that there’s no available headroom.

The same couldn’t be said about the highs, however, as they can be altered to provide a bit more zing at the top-end. In our case, we added four notches to the ‘Treble’ EQ, which helped liven up music both at the front and rear of the cabin; it’s great to see dedicated high-frequency controls and further, that all occupants sat within the Peugeot 408 can benefit from that toe-tapping feeling thanks to the positioning of the tweeters.

This also has a positive impact on instrument separation, with songs such as ‘Cancion del Mariachi’ by Antonio Banderas and Los Lobos coming to full fruition. However, the overall width and the depth of the system do let it down – there simply isn’t that level of engagement or cabin-filling sound as one might expect from the upgraded audio configuration. Make no mistake, however, it’s better than the stock six-speaker system, but not up there with some of its rivals.

Finally, onto cabin noise, the Peugeot 408 provides a surprising amount of noise isolation both at lower and higher speeds. Using a sound meter, we recorded 36 dBA at a standstill; driving at 20mph, 54-57 dBA; driving at 30-40mph, 61-64 dBA; and at 70mph, 70-73 dBA. It’s worth noting that these figures were taken in the GT trim, which not only has the acoustically treated windscreen, which comes as standard across the trim range but also has laminated front windows. The latter is found in the Allure Premium trim too.

Peugeot 408 audio award

Read next: Citroen C5 X audio review: Best soundproofing?

TotallyEV’s verdict on the Peugeot 408’s audio system

On the whole, the Focal system within the Peugeot 408 will provide you with better low-end extension and a more engaging audio experience thanks to the extra audio drivers found within the cabin. As such, the upgraded configuration receives TotallyEV’s Approved audio award.

Find the best Peugeot 408 deals

With that said, the Peugeot 408’s audio system can’t quite compete with some of the alternatives out there on the market, which excel across the frequency range. As such, audiophiles might want to look elsewhere or consider an aftermarket solution.

Would you upgrade to the GT trim for the upgraded Focal system? Let us know in the comments section below or via social media; we’re on: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Christopher Minasians
Christopher is an avid car enthusiast and techie. In his spare time, he reviews the latest consumer electronic products on his YouTube channel, TotallydubbedHD. Elsewhere, he practices Taekwondo, in which he has held a black belt for several years and coaches at a national level. He also speaks fluent English, French, Armenian, and loves to practice freestyle street dance.
peugeot-408-audio-review-a-10-speaker-focal-systemThe Peugeot 408 houses six speakers as standard, but should you opt for the top-spec GT trim and add a £600 option you'll get a 10-speaker Focal system instead. The latter does relatively well across the sound frequency range but is let down by its mid-range accuracy and soundstage. Nonetheless, it's still a good step-up over the stock configuration and as such, receives TotallyEV's Approved audio award.


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