Handsome and well-made, but low speed ride disappoints
20 October 2008

What is it?

The third member of the Renault Laguna family – and the best-looking version by a mile. Renault only aims to sell about 2000 Laguna Coupes a year in the UK, but it hopes that this sophisticated-looking fastback will add some much-needed drama to the whole range.

GT spec brings leather upholstery and Renault’s rear-steer system, which boosts both low-speed manoeverability and high-speed stability.

The Coupe is about 7cm shorter in the wheelbase, and has a 3cm wider track than other Lagunas. UK buyers will be able to pick a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol, a 2.0-litre turbodiesel and a 3.5-litre petrol V6.

However, we opted to test the range-topping powerplant, an all-new 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 with 235bhp which will be shared with forthcoming Infiniti models.

This drives through a standard six-speed automatic gearbox, and produces an impressive 332lb ft of torque at just 1500 rpm.

What's it like?

The Laguna Coupe’s cabin is stylish and deeply impressive, continuing the good work begun in the existing Lagana hatch and estate.

The fascia has tasteful aluminium facings, plus superbly designed switchgear which is the match of any premium rival in terms of both look and feel.

All Coupe models get sportier seats and extra under-thigh support at their edge. The interior can carry four adults at a rather snug pinch, and the overall effect is luxurious and airy.

On the road, the Coupe keeps the refinement of the Laguna hatchback, offering excellent high-speed cruising. The engine is turning over at just 2700rpm at an indicated 100mph, and wind noise is very low.

The Coupe also gets firmer spring and damper settings, which can mean there’s a lumpiness in the ride at low speeds that takes getting used to.

Yet over suburban bumps it feels quiet and taut: Renault has found an extra 25 per cent of torsional stiffness in the two-door body, compared with the hatchback.

The engine’s strong output does a decent job of motivating the Laguna Coupe’s 1500kg body in a suitably sporty fashion.

The car feels powerful and long-legged, although its autobox can be a mite unresponsive when asked to provide a kickdown for overtaking. For quick downchanges the driver is better advised to intervene via the (pleasant-to-use) selector.

The diesel is barely recognisable as such above idle, only the 5000rpm redline on the tacho serves to give the game away, and in real-world driving it feels every bit as brisk as the petrol V6.

The four-wheel steer system works well, sharpening response in roundabouts, yet taming untidy high-speed lane-change manoeuvres.

Renault engineers say a tweak that started as a simple safety gadget has turned out to be an aid to driving pleasure, adding an 'on rails' feel in long, fast bends.

Should I buy one?

You should certainly give it serious consideration. This is a very good car: handsome, well-made, well-equipped and perfect for fast cruising. The low-speed ride isn’t the best in the business, but it’s a great high-speed mile-muncher.

The V6 turbodiesel seems like an especially good option, especially as it emits just 192g/km of CO2, can crack 150mph and sprints from 0-62mph in just 7.0 seconds.

But would you choose one against a BMW, Audi or Mercedes? That’s a tough choice, but the Laguna does bring comparable quality, more equipment for your money – and the guarantee of greater exclusivity. Perhaps it's time to be different.

 

Join the debate

Comments
17

21 October 2008

I think that the more powerful V6 petrol is the range topper and the engine best suited to an elegant coupe.

21 October 2008

Looks better than I was expecting - and presumably this new V6 diesel will appear elsewhere in the Renault/ Nissan range. Could make a half-way decent Murano...

21 October 2008

As is usually the case, the real model isn't a patch on the concept. After the wholly uninteresting appearance of the Laguna hatch, I really thought they would let rip with this car and make something truly stunning. It's not that the Laguna Coupe is ugly, but it is painfully dull.

21 October 2008

The nose looks like the designer had a blunt pencil so was unable to do any detail, in true French style he couldn't be bothered to find a sharpener so resorted to general colouring in.

(apart from the usual millstones (or gravestone?) it will depreciate like cream cake, breakdown lots and everyone will think your potty or pity you.) apart from that its quite promising.

21 October 2008

Some new models have "car supermarket special" written across their windscreen at launch. This is one of those cars.

21 October 2008

Best looking version by a mile!? That's like saying someone's the better looking of the ugly sisters. The sedan's very bland, but the coupe's face reminds me of Jar Jar Binks

21 October 2008

Interesting! An article on a coupe model that doesn't make any reference to the car's handling abilities, beyond a sentence how it goes around roundabouts!

Its nose and proportions remind me of the Bangle designed Fiat Coupe of the 1990s.

21 October 2008

I really like this car, because in a time where every car has to be sporty and aggressive-looking and all that sort of stuff (and more often than not, it probably isn't sporty or aggressive), this looks honest, elegant and subtle...you know it won't be a driver's car by looking at it. Haven't seen this sort of design for a long time...in fact, the closest was the Peugeot 406 Coupe, a design which still looks good...

 

- Follow your own star -

21 October 2008

There is nothing elegant or subtle about the front of this car my friend- this thing is a bona fide lemon sucker. Shame, because the rest of the car, from the front wheel arches back, is actually really quite nice.

21 October 2008

One to judge in the metal, I suppose. That said, I can't imagine a world where I'd buy one.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales