Renault Laguna Coupé Concept: the lowdown
Critics of the new dull-looking new Laguna - and there have been a few - can seek solace in the new two-door coupé version unveiled today in Frankfurt. It's a far sleeker affair, although a concept. And we all know what happens to sexy concepts before they reach the high street. We just have to hope the officials who vouch it won't change much for production aren't just toeing the company line. This isn't no sports coupé designed to trade off Renault's reputation in F1. Think of it as the company's answer to its domestic rival Peugeot's 407 Coupé. Click 'Next' to read the full story.
I like the look of it... what's different from the saloon?
Every body panel is different, and there are some lush design details on this show special. It's the first Renault with LED headlamps and Renault boss Carlos Ghosn made the typical concept car usual claim that its interior was made using craftmanship from luxury watches. Back in the real world, this concept car does provide numerous clues to the production car. For starters, it ushers in the company's new V6 turbodiesel, a 3.0-litre cranking out 265bhp. There will also be Nissan's 3.5-litre V6, plus more wallet-friendly 2.0-litres in both petrol (205bhp) and diesel (180bhp) guise. All will drive the front wheels.
Looks great. When can I buy one?
You'll have to wait a while longer yet. The production version will be shown at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show, finally rolling into showrooms at the end of 2008. Expect prices to compete with the 407 Coupé, which means a starter bill of just under £20,000. It could be worth the wait if Renault manages to keep some of this silhouette - the 350Z roofline and a hint of Aston Martin rear end - in the production version. Here's hoping.
How will it drive?
We've already driven the new Laguna and came away impressed; it's definitely near the top of the class, if not our current champion. The sportier two-door will add the company's new four-wheel steer system, which is claimed to improve handling and manoeuvrability. CAR Online is driving a Laguna 4ws soon, so come back next week to see if it works. Ghosn claims the new 3.0 V6 TD is strong enough to hit 62mph in a scant 7.0sec and is also proud of the quality gains made by Renault. Successions of execs at the French car maker have claimed to improve reliability gremlins, so we'll have to let time test his claims; primary quality in the showroom is certainly better, but we'll pass judgment on mechanical sturdiness of the new Laguna.