Radical new Renault aims to make the Laguna 'fun'; on sale 2008
18 June 2007

Renault is putting the final touches to a new Laguna coupe. The new two-door is part of a plan to increase sales as well as boosting Renault's brand image and profitability.The new two-door will go on sale in the second half of 2008, about 12 months behind the new Laguna hatchback and estate.The coupé’s look is distinct from its sister cars and has been heavily influenced by the 2004 Fluence concept.A Renault source told Autocar that the coupé will be “less conservative” than the five-door Laguna. It is expected to be a two-door notchback design.Like the new Laguna hatch, the coupé will be 4.7m long and will be capable of accommodating four adults in comfort. It will also have the same interior fittings, which is no bad thing, as the new dashboard and associated switchgear are notable for their design quality.The Fluence concept was powered by the 3.5-litre V6 from Nissan’s 350Z, and it’s expected that a Nissan-derived V6 will find its way into the production version. Less expensive versions will get a turbocharged 170bhp four-cylinder petrol engine and a powerful four-cylinder turbodiesel. Both six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions will be offered.Renault says the new Laguna chassis has been substantially reworked to improve the precision of the steering and reduce body roll. The dampers have been stiffened by 50 per cent at the rear and 20 per cent at the front and there’s also a new rear anti-roll bar. Even so, Renault claims to have retained “outstanding ride quality”.Top-end models will get electronically controlled rear-wheel steering. Although still rare on a production car, these systems can dramatically improve the agility and turn-in prowess of a front-wheel-drive car.The Laguna’s safety systems have been upgraded, with the side impact protection being modified to trigger earlier in a collision.

Hilton Holloway

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