Renault is being very deliberate about the positioning of the new Laguna GT205. This is a ‘softer’ GT, not (like the Clio 182 and Mégane 225) a hard-core Renaultsport product. And, having driven the car on some sensational Italian roads, we think the distinction is a wise move.
The GT205 is introduced as part of a refresh of the entire Laguna range. Exterior changes are subtle, with a more tapered front to meet pedestrian impact regulations and the new corporate face. While the changes are elegant, the look is more conservative than the outgoing model’s.
Inside it’s a different story. The old Laguna wasn’t bad, but the 2005-model’s cabin is a clear improvement. The layout is less cluttered and material quality improves, while Keyless Go, an automatic parking brake and a three-dimensional sat-nav system feature for the first time.
To provide a more engaging drive, Renault have stiffened the suspension and upped engine performance across the range. Gearboxes have also been fettled to provide a more positive shift.
The GT205 takes this a step further with a chassis that sits 10mm lower on 24 per cent stiffer springs. The brakes are larger and the steering reprogrammed to give greater weight.