From Chas Hallett in Frankfurt
The Renault Laguna coupe was billed as a concept car but no-one was fooled and company insiders were quick to admit that the real thing will go on sale in late 2008.Based heavily on the recently launched hatch, the Coupe will hit the showrooms with styling virtually unchanged from the handsome concept on the Frankfurt show stand. Of course, the scissor doors won’t be making the cut and you can expect a mildly different rear light treatment and restyled tail pipes, but that’s all the revisions the company will make. Inside, it’s a full four-seater and with air-conditioning vents across the entire dash and a metal mesh floor.The concept did enough for us to expect that Renault won’t simply be carrying over the hatchback’s well-made but uninspiring interior. Renault design boss Patrick Le Quement admitted to Autocar that the Coupe was partly designed as an answer to critics slating the Laguna hatch for its humdrum looks. "We admit that the Laguna is a conservative design," he said, "but it operates in a conservative segment. However the company's future, including the Laguna coupe, was not going down the same route."The driving experience will also be sportier than the standard car's. One of the engines on offer will be a newly developed 3.0-litre V6 diesel good for 265bhp and 406lb ft of torque, mated to a six-speed auto. By 2009 this combo will also be powering Infinitis being sold in Europe. Like future range-topping Renault hatches, the Coupe also has the company’s new four-wheel steer Active chassis, greatly aiding its handling agility.