Renault's looker caught in winter tests
30 January 2008

Renault's Laguna coupé, the car tasked with putting some flair into the regular hatchback's range, is nearly ready. Our spies caught these prototypes undergoing final winter tests in Finland, and the production car should be launched in November.When the extensive body cladding comes off we're expectingthe Laguna coupé to be a sleek two-door model with a £20k price tag. It's also likely that the car will be the first Renault to offer the brand's all-new, 3.0-litre, V6 dCi diesel engine, good for around 260bhp. That's the same unit destined for the next Vel Satis and new Infinitis, and it should ensure the Laguna coupé is capable of 0-60mph in under eight seconds and a top speed of 140mph.A version of the Nissan-developed, 3.5-litre V6 from the 350Z will also be on offer for proper petrol performance. And the standard Laguna's smaller, four-cylinder turbocharged four petrol and diesel units will be available in entry-level models.In common with high-end Laguna hatchbacks, the coupé will have a four-wheel-steer Active Drive chassis in an attempt to make it more agile. Not often seen on production cars, this system can improve turn-in on front-wheel-drive cars by using electronically controlled rear-wheel steering.The dampers will be 50 per cent stiffer at the rear and 20 per cent stiffer up front compared with the standard Laguna.Renault says the coupé will be a proper four-seater, with room in the rear for adults. But it is also relying on the car to spice up its model range after being stung by criticism of the regular Laguna's conservative looks.Sources have admitted that the styling of last year's handsome Laguna coupé concept will remain virtually unchanged for the production model, minus more eccentric touches like the scissor doors.

Will Powell

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