Laguna Coupe GT 2.0 205 Turbo
head-turning looks and
an impressive array of chassis
and powertrain technologies allows
the two-door, four-seater Laguna
Coupé to step up in class and take
on coupés from the likes of BMW,
Audi and Mercedes...
FOLLOWING ON FROM THE INTRODUCTION of the new Laguna Hatch and Sports Tourer
estates, the new and more refined Megane Hatch and the stylish Megane Coupé,
comes the elegant Laguna Coupé. With their new models Renault are aiming to
improve their brand image and all new models promise better quality, more equipment,
more sophistication and the latest low-emission technologies.
With head-turning looks and an impressive array of chassis and powertrain technologies,
the two-door, four-seater Laguna Coupé steps up in class from recent Renault
offerings to potentially take on the likes of the 'premium' brand BMW 3 Series
Coupé, Audi A5 and Mercedes CLK.
These 'premium' Coupés do not sell in high numbers relative to their less-costly
saloon counterparts, so despite its stunning good looks the Laguna Coupé is
going to find it tough going to attract customers to a perceived 'non-premium'
and regularly discounted brand.
In truth, the Laguna Coupé will probably be battling it out for sales against
the cheaper and smaller new Volkswagen Scirocco, the aged Peugeot 407 Coupé
and a host of Coupé-Cabriolet hardtops such as the VW Eos, Ford Focus CC and
new Peugeot 308 CC plus, of course, Renault's own new Megane Coupé.
The new Laguna Coupé is available in two grades with prices starting from £21,910.
The entry-level Laguna Coupé is well equipped with safety, comfort and convenience
features including an electronic stability control programme, ABS, climate control
air conditioning, bi-xenon headlamps with washers, 18-inch alloy wheels, rear
parking sensors, 'Superfold' rear seat system and automatic headlights and wipers.
The audio system marks a major advance in quality achieved through a
new partnership between Renault and sound specialists Arkamys. Laguna Coupé
GT versions = with prices from £23,910 offer even more for today's sophisticated,
technically tuned-in motorist.
In addition to the 4Control chassis with four-wheel steering, the GT trim provides
full leather upholstery, cruise control, speed limiter, automatic parking brake,
aluminium interior trim detailing and an electrochromatic auto-dimming rear-view
mirror. In addition, owners can upgrade their GT with a bespoke premium sound
system from audio specialists Bose.
There is a wide range of engines to appeal to the requirements of discerning
buyers in this market segment, many of them company car drivers and user-chooser
business customers. The choice of exact engine depends on whether the Coupé
or Coupé GT is chosen. Aptly, in the overall line-up is an all-new 235bhp 3.0-litre
V6 dCi turbodiesel unit with 80% of its 332lb ft of torque available from just
1,300rpm ideal for high-mileage drivers and well in keeping with the
stylish long-legged cruiser capabilities of the Laguna Coupé.
is also the least-likely-to-sell 240bhp 3.5-litre V6 petrol unit. Other choices
are from the established 205bhp 2.0-litre petrol turbo unit and the best-selling
2.0-litre dCi 150 and 180bhp diesels. Across the range, both six-speed manual
and automatic transmissions are available but depending on the particular engine
Its a real stunner
and drew numerous
and visits from
My test model was the Laguna Coupé GT 2.0 205 Turbo, priced at £23,910. Whilst
this will not be the best-selling engine, it is a good sporty choice mid-range
between the heavyweight 3.0-litre versions and the frugal 2.0-litre diesels.
This 205bhp turbocharged petrol unit gives a brisk and fairly fuel-frugal account
of itself. Top speed is 147mph and 0-62mph takes a fleet-of-foot 7.8 seconds
so it is no posing slouch. Given the performance, fuel economy is relatively
good. Officially it returns 34.4mpg and my test car nearly reached that: 33.3mpg
driven over a variety of roads with both short and long journeys. The CO2 emissions
are relatively high at 194g/km which incurs a road tax Band F rating of £210
now but £215 from April 2009. Company car users should be aware that this model
has a 26% benefit-in-kind tax liability.
The six-speed manual gearbox has a long-throw action so it is not so easy to
make quick across-the-box changes; but it is easy to use. The gear ratios seem
just about perfect to get the best from the turbocharged engine, enough to make
good use of the torque at low speeds and relaxed enough to reduce engine noise
and fuel consumption at high cruising speeds. The fifth and sixth gears are
both long-legged so long journey cruising is relaxed.
The GT version has active four-wheel steering and at speeds up to 37mph the
rear wheels move in a direction opposite to the front wheels, making the Coupé
extremely agile and precise at low speeds and whilst turning or parking. At
higher speeds the rear wheels move in the same steering direction as the front
ones so the car feels more controlled 'on-rails'.
However, on our poor, tramlined UK road surfaces, the rear-end of the car fidgets
from side to side as it constantly compensates for what the front wheels are
doing. The Coupé has a wider track than the Hatch and Sports Tourer estate and
consequently its suspension does not absorb potholes so well, and the ride is
on the hard side. Thankfully, though, the seats are comfortable.
The interior of the Coupé GT is first class to look at and the quality appears
excellent: well up to 'premium' class standard. Some of the centre console controls
are a bit fiddly and I am no great fan of the button-operated electronic handbrake.
Access to the rear seats is just about OK as the front doors are wide opening
although pretty heavy.
The rear legroom is no more than adequate but in keeping with the competition.
The rear seats fold so the boot space can be enlarged if needed but even without
the extra room the boot is still large enough for holiday suitcases even if
the boot opening is somewhat on the small side.
In most aspects the Renault Laguna Coupé GT scores highly and especially so
for its styling. With its rising waistline and curving roof the classic Coupé
side view epitomises elegance. It's a real stunner and gained numerous admiring
looks and visits from interested people whilst it was in my care. Other major
eye-catching details include wide wheel arches that give the Coupé a ground-hugging
stance; the upturned tailgate wing with echoes of an Aston Martin; whle the
Laguna Coupé GT's sleek front could be a Ferrari 599 Coupé derivative. Only
the under-bumper front air intake grille seems too large and pronounced.
I love cars and luckily for me writing about them is my job. But advising others
means that the head has to rule the heart. My heart would say the Laguna Coupé
is an exceptional and desirable product both style and quality wise. But until
Renault stabilises its sales and achieves better residual values for its products,
customers will be entering into the unknown when buying this particular newcomer.
A BMW 3 Series Coupé or most probably, given the down-sizing that's going on,
the new VW Scirocco would, in the real world, be financially better long-term
buys unless a big discount can be achieved from your Renault dealer!
So, on the minus side, Laguna Coupé buyers will have to accept unknown residual
values, some fiddly controls and chassis dynamics and sporty road holding abilities
that are not really up to those of the Laguna Coupé's 'premium' competitors.
However, on the plus side they will be getting a car with elegant and sophisticated
styling with a high-quality and well equipped interior at a competitive price,
with the handling agility that comes from four-wheel steering. David
Renault Laguna Coupé GT 2.0 205 Turbo | £23,910
Maximum speed: 147mph | 0-62mph: 7.8 seconds
Overall test MPG: 33.3mpg | Power: 205bhp | Torque: 221lb ft
CO2 194g/km | VED Band F £210 | Insurance group 17E