LAGUNA LOOKING GOOD!
Hallelujah! Finally, Renault delivers a Laguna which looks as good as it drives. The new Coupé is a million design years away from the unfortunate styling of the other Laguna models – looks which significantly compromise the desirability of the cars in my eyes, despite good (excellent in the case of the GTs) handling and performance.
Renault’s all-new flagship has bags of French flair. Muscular and purposeful with a low-slung wide stance and sweeping fluid lines, it has a premium air about it and is perfectly poised to appeal and probably steal coupé lovers from marques. Indeed, Renault are boldly pitching this car against the likes of acclaimed all-rounders, like the Audi A5 and Volkswagen Scirocco, and the ‘blessed with beauty’ Alfa Romeo Brera.
This serious style injection doesn’t stop on the outside either – the coupé’s interior is arguably the best in a Renault for more than a while. It’s elegant, highly specified, tastefully coordinated colour and texture wise, with a real quality feel. And despite the usual space compromises you expect from the rear of a coupé, there’s decent amount of rear space for legs, and adequate head room, unless you’re well over 6 foot tall. In addition to the 3.0-litre V6 dCi engine, tested here, which is incidentally all-new courtesy of a Renault-Nissan alliance, there’s a choice of 150bhp 2.0-litre dCi in manual or automatic guise, along with a 180bhp 2.0 dCi, as found in the Laguna GT hatchback and tourer.
From the outset, the car is special to drive. With no give-away diesel chug, it’s silky smooth and refined even under pressure. There’s rewarding throttle response throughout the rev range and with its generous 332lb ft of torque at just 1,500rpm, there’s plenty of reassuring punch to overtake with ease. The six-speed automatic transmission is slick, with changes barely detectable. The driving position is low and the seats supportive – exactly how a grand tourer should be. The suspension is firm though, and you certainly feel the road, which appeals to me, but may be harsher than expected for some. The only let down is the rather vague steering feel. This new coupé is a large leap forward in terms of genuine style matching performance and given its high specification, and sub £30,000 price tag, it seems excellent value for money. Even more so in entry level 2.0 dCi 150 guise, at a smidging under £21K.
RIVALS: AUDI A5 2.7 TDI AUTO, PEUGEOT 407 COUPÉ SPORT V6 HDi AUTO
- Engine: 2993cc, V6, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 6-speed automatic
- Max Power: 235bhp at 3,750rpm
- Max Torque: 332lb ft at 1,500rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 1,500kg
- Combined Consumption: 39.2mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 192g/km (F)
- 0-62mph: 7.3secs
- Max speed: 151mph
- Insurance Group: 18