The least powerful model is a 150bhp 2.0-litre dCi diesel, which will sprint from 0-62mph in less than 10 seconds whether fitted with the standard manual gearbox or optional six-speed automatic. Petrol versions comprise a 205bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre or a 240bhp 3.5-litre V6. The 2.0T has plenty of pulling power and reaches 62mph from rest in 7.8 seconds while the 3.5-litre (fitted with a six-speed automatic gearbox only) covers the benchmark in 7.4 seconds - although it's thirsty averaging just 28mpg.
More popular are the 2.0 dCi 180 and 3.0 V6 dCi 235 diesels. The 2.0-litre is a second faster to 62mph than the dCi 150, but the 3.0 dCi is the quickest model in the range with a 0-62mph time of just 7.3 seconds. The new V6 diesel is available only with a six-speed automatic gearbox, but is exceptionally smooth. The auto gearboxes can be used for manual gearshifts, but only with the gearstick – there are no paddles on the steering column, which would have helped it feel a little sportier.
There is a major distinction between the standard and GT versions. The higher-spec GTs come with Renault’s 4Control chassis, introduced on the Laguna GT in 2008. It allows the rear wheels to steer (by up to 3.5 degrees) in the opposite direction to the front wheels at lower speeds for improved agility and flatter cornering, or in the same direction as the front wheels at higher speeds for greater stability.
This system makes a noticeable difference on the car, reducing the tendency to understeer – when the front of the car loses grip when travelling too fast into a corner – and feeling nimble when cornering. Although the front-wheel drive Laguna Coupé will never feel as well balanced as a good rear-wheel drive car on a challenging road, it has excellent body control and remains composed in all but the most optimistic attempts at high-speed cornering.
Cars without 4Control still have a different set-up from the standard hatchback models - and with lowered suspension plus a shorter wheelbase it has a head start in feeling more energetic on the road.