You see, the French have never really been good at making cars, their designs have always been avant-garde (like the Renault Avantime for instance) but hopelessly impractical and unreliable to the rest of the human world. So they'd rather cook. Or paint. But, with the arrival of the Laguna Coupe, they've finally made one that works.
The curves, the grill and the tail-lights are all reminiscent of the Aston Martin DB9.. and with that bold front grille the Laguna Coupe is a stunning car to behold. Never before has Renault ever crafted a car so beautiful and yet practical. What you get is a turbo-charged 2.0l Automatic gearbox which churns out 170bhp which is not bad really. From the looks of it you wont expect it to hunt down Lambos or Ferraris, those are the red hot chillis of the automotive world. But for the Renault, its more like a creme brulee, crisp on the outside and utterly smooth and soft on the inside. The car is fully equipped with cruise control, climate control and everything else that a regular middle-upper class coupe may have, but its real party piece is the way passengers proceed to the back which have real space and not like other 2 door 'four seaters' with room at the rear for the width of golf clubs. Just pull a lever on the front seat and they slide effortlessly towards the front leaving ample room for human beings to enter. And once they're in, pull the lever again and the seat will slide back to its original position as it utilizes the memory settings in the car. Another thing that most people did not notice is that when you open the doors, the pillarless windows actually wind down just a tiny bit just so that opening and closing the doors do not damage the windows. That's pretty neat.
Though the interior may have been thrown over from the four door family saloon version, its still a very comfortable place to be in. With a cabin that even Hitler would approve of, i have absolutely no complaints... except the steering wheel shape is a bit weird for a 'sporty' coupe. French cars usually have mad and impractical centre consoles with revolutionary style where function was placed at the bottom of the priority list, but in this it looks almost German with German quality plastics and buttons which actually feel nice to press. It even has that clever LCD screen in the middle telling the driver all the essential trip information. Sadly though, there is no GPS system or a reverse camera fitted in this car and fitting one in the dash would be as good as adding curry to fondue and just destroy the looks of the entire interior. So please... if you buy one, don't be a c--k to do such a thing. Even if you do want to have one make sure it looks good inside or else this car will hate you. If you are a family man with a young one in tow, there are ISOFIX points for that baby seat, and super practical split folding rear seats. And not forgetting safety. Crashing this car will just make you feel like you're in a pillow fight because there are 8 airbags all round to make sure you enjoy the crash.
So if this car can sit four people in comfort, including the baby, looks amazing, its a two door car so people won't think you're giving up on life just yet, and its safe, why would anyone buy the four door version? If anyone did sorry to say, you picked Ugly Betty to be your wife instead of Jennifer Aniston or something.
On to the way it drives. Under the bonnet is a turbo-charged 170bhp engine which automatically eliminates this car from the supercar/sports car category. I would label it a Gran Tourer where you just want to keep driving this car on and on and on... it just makes you realize the joy of driving and being caught up in a traffic jam won't seem like a drag anymore, you fall in love with it. Girlfriends beware. With 270Nm @ 3250rpm, overtaking is a breeze and the car feels light and powerful off the line which is ideal in Singapore roads where there's a traffic light every 5m. What's more, the car won't burn a hole in your pocket for drinking too much petrol, its more of a social drinker rather than a hardcore clubber. The car has 6 gears and has a feature called the 'self-shifter' which senses the amount of throttle and shifts gear to rev-match with the previous rpm to enable silky smooth gear changes. The worst thing about this car is the way the steering feels. Its as lifeless as Fann Wong's face. There's just no feel when you turn which may lead to over or understeer. But other than that, the Laguna Coupe can complete the century sprint in 9.6 seconds which is neither too fast nor slow for a car in this class.
This car is definitely a hit for me with German quality finish, Japanese practicality, French/Italian/British looks and the undeniable attention to detail, the Laguna Coupe is definitely a class above the rest. Renault has outclassed its Japanese rivals like Honda or any of its French counterparts. They have shot for the sky with this one, aiming to be at least on par with the Germans. If Hitler was still around, his face won't be so smug in that fat old Mercedes anymore, here comes General Charles De Gaulle in a Renault.