Peugeot choose the luxurious Cashel Palace hotel in the heart of the Tipperary town of the same name to launch their new 408; it certainly was an impressive location and the car is very stylish also.

Yes, a classy five-star Palladian Manor for a classy new car. The Palace was built in 1732 for Archbishop Bolton and was designed by Edward Lovett Pearce, who also designed the Bank of Ireland building in College Green, Dublin. Later converted to a hotel, it ceased trading in 2015 and after a major refurbish was re-opened under the Magnier family ownership in March last year.

Enough about the hotel, what’s the car like? The 408 is included in Peugeot’s E-Lion project, which will see five new electric cars being launched in the next three years, part of the company’s plans to be fully electric by 2030.

We drove various versions of the 408 in Cashel and last week I drove the 1.2-litre petrol Allure Pack version. Peugeot are certainly being brave with their colours of late. When they launched their new 308 last year it came in Olivine Green and the week before the launch of the 408 I drove an SW version of the 308, which came in Avatar Blue.

Continuing with the bright and bold colours, the 408 I drove last week came in Obsession Blue. When I left the pick-up point at the Automotive Team in Sandyford, the range with a full tank of petrol, said 700km. But with steady motorway driving the clock was reading 760km by the time I got to the Red Cow roundabout.

I have seen this happen previously with other petrol or diesel cars; when you drive along a motorway at a steady speed you will see the range rapidly climb. My test car was an eight-speed automatic with 130bhp.

At first I thought the 408 was not much larger than the 308, but then I came to it via the station wagon version of the 308, which might have given me an inaccurate impression. The 408 has a longer wheel base and a larger boot than the 308.

Inside, the dash is attractive and well laid out with a ten-inch infotainment screen. Plenty of head and leg room for five adults. The boot is a decent size and while there is space for a spare wheel, none is provided. Unusual for Peugeot that there is no spare, but I’m told it’s all got to do with weight.

Peugeot has really upped their game in recent years and their cars are up there with the best. No wonder Stephen McGrath, their Product Manager says that the 408 is not just a new car, it’s a conquest model. Peugeot are confident that they will win over some new customers with this new version of the 408.

It’s a very stylish family car. Really comfortable car to drive and travel in and my daughter, who was my regular passenger last week and good judge of style, was very impressed.

If you are a horse racing fan you will love the Cashel Palace. It’s the only hotel I have visited that had complimentary copies of the Racing Post at reception. And if you are into new cars then the Peugeot 408 is certainly worth a test drive. Remember if you drive carefully you won’t have many pit stops.

Prices start at €39,995, but my Allure Pack test model with a plethora of extras will cost you €41,995. If you want GT, it’s five euro short of €45K.

Available in petrol or plug-in hybrid, no diesel version available, but there will be a fully electric version available later this year.