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First look: Laguna Coupe makes surprise proddie debut

Styling: Coupe is based on the MkIII Laguna that goes on sale here in June.

Renault's four-seater Laguna appears amid the glitz and glamour of Cannes and Monaco

26 May 2008

RENAULT last weekend wheeled out a sleek new coupe version of its new-generation mid-size Laguna in the south of France – well ahead of its scheduled appearance at the Paris motor show in early October.

Powered by two new V6 petrol and diesel engines, the two-door Laguna is closely based on a concept car that featured at the Frankfurt motor show last September.

Renault president Carlos Ghosn himself drove the Laguna Coupe into the public spotlight for the first time at the opening of the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday (May 24), not only reinforcing the car’s focus on style but also celebrating 25 years of Renault sponsorship of the international film fest.

35 center imageAt the same time, the Laguna Coupe’s sporting pretensions were highlighted at nearby Monaco as the Renault F1 test drivers Lucas di Grassi and Romain Grosjean lapped the famed circuit during the F1 Grand Prix meeting in the car.

The Laguna Coupe is a two-door version of the all-new third-generation Laguna that will soon be launched in Australia, initially in 2.0-litre diesel form only.

Entry-level coupes for the European market will be powered by the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol and turbo-diesel engines as the regular Laguna sedan and wagon.

But the hero models get the ‘brand new’ 3.5-litre V6 petrol and diesel engines that were developed by the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

The dCi turbo-diesel produces 173kW of power and 450Nm while the petrol version produces about the same amount of power (175kW) but considerably less torque (330Nm).

Despite that – and the fact that Renault claims the diesel “is destined to become a benchmark in terms of performance and driving pleasure” – it is the petrol version that has the superior performance, with a claimed 0-100km/h acceleration time of less than seven seconds.

Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission called the AJ0.

Another interesting feature on the coupe is Renault’s new “Active Drive” chassis (with four-wheel steering), which the company says has been acclaimed by the European media since it was introduced earlier this year on the Laguna GT variant.

Developed in conjunction with Renault Sport Technologies, the four-wheel steer chassis is designed to provide better agility, stability and handling, especially around town and on twisting roads.

Renault claims that it takes drivers little time to familiarise themselves with the system’s characteristics and that it makes choosing the optimal cornering line intuitive, further enhancing driving pleasure with directional precision at low steering wheel angles.

The four-seater sits on a 2690mm wheelbase and is 4640mm long, 1830mm wide and 1400mm high, sitting on 17-inch or 18-inch alloy wheels.

Renault said that more technical information will be revealed when the car appears at the Paris show in October.

In the meantime, the company says that the Coupe bears a close resemblance to the Frankfurt concept car and that its proportions are “nicely balanced, while the character line which stems from the grille rises forcefully along its flanks, like a wave of air, gracefully underpinning the design of its front wings before extending rearwards to highlight its muscular haunches.

“Laguna Coupe’s stance exudes a sense of dynamism and power (and) this sensation is echoed by the pronounced crease-lines of its long bonnet and by its new variant headlamps.

“The rear, meanwhile, features a very short overhang and broad, slim lights which give Laguna Coupe a bright, distinctive lighting signature which suggests refinement and power, especially at night when the indicators form a halo that picks out the contours of the thin red LEDs.

“The flowing lines of Renault Laguna Coupe’s elegant, uncluttered design express a blend of timeless beauty and the promise of sheer motoring enjoyment. There is no mistaking the legacy it has inherited from the show car unveiled at Frankfurt.”

Read more:

First look: Renault shows slick new Laguna coupe

Lovely Renault Laguna GT hits France

First look: Renault unveils new Laguna

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