Stylish and quick, but rough round the edges.

What is it?

This is the new Renault Laguna Coupe 2.0 DCi, a cheaper alternative to the V6-powered 3.0 DCi.

If you thought Renault might pitch the Laguna Coupe as a bit of an alternative choice, something different to the norm, think again – the company assures us that the Coupe fancies its chances against the BMW 320d coupe.

The Laguna Coupe is shorter than its hatch and estate sisters, although its track is wider. Our test car came with a 178bhp 2.0-litre diesel with a six-speed manual, in GT trim. This means a better spec and, significantly, four-wheel steering.

What’s it like?

Equipment levels are high and the interior looks and feels good. The Laguna Coupe is airier than its German rivals, with plastics that are lighter in colour (fine) and lighter to the touch (not so good).

Against the premium Germans it feels a bit high-street audio versus serious hi-fi. It’s spacious in the front, but the revised dimensions make it snug in the back and the cute boot shape limits space.

To drive? It’s certainly fast enough. The diesel engine’s soundtrack is a bit whooshy, but it’s driveable and quick. Renault claims 0-62mph in 8.5 sec and it feels easily that fast.

Major driving controls are on the light side, however. That makes the Laguna coupe an easy car to drive, but not always a very engaging one.

The steering, particularly, is very direct and light. Then there’s the four-wheel steer. The rear wheels turn against the fronts during low speed and hard cornering, which makes the Coupe feel very agile - it can corner at some speed.

There’s no great finesse, though. And the steering’s directness and the rear wheels’ variable-steer means it’s not always intuitive.

Should I buy one?

As a break from the norm, the Laguna Coupe is intriguing; there’s certainly a place for it. Whether that place is beating a 3-series coupe to a spot on your driveway is debatable, however.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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Vanquish 24 November 2008

Re: Renault Laguna Coupe 2.0 dCi 180

I was initially a bit disappointed that the Laguna Coupe wasn't as visually stunning as the concept they showed last year but I guess this is the real world and sense and to a degree practicality (not to mention cost) must prevail. I've now seen the new Laguna in the metal and it really is a great looking car. I am one of those German Coupe driving people that you guys seem to hate (Audi S5), The only thing that would stop me buying the Laguna is the total lack of occasion the interior provides - particularly at night. Where my Audi lights up like a Christmas tree and feels special the Laguna has dull white back lighting and not much of it..might seem like a silly comment but it supports the comment Autocar made about high street Audio v top line Hi-Fi. That said great effort Renault I hope you do well with this car.

W124 22 November 2008

Re: Renault Laguna Coupe 2.0 dCi 180

I'm very shallow.. That's why I care what other people think. Truth be told it's more of an obscure notion of cool inside my own head - it's not the image of German cars I don't like - it's the actual ways the cars look and feel.

theonlydt 22 November 2008

Re: Renault Laguna Coupe 2.0 dCi 180

TegTypeR wrote:
As good as this car may be, sadly I feel this car will have the same sort of sales success as the 407 Coupe - decidedly lacklustre.
The 407 coupe is a truly ugly car - this looks bearable and deserves to do better. Still, if they could produce something like the 406 coupe with reasonable handling and significantly better reliability I'd put in some overtime!