Engine: 3-litre V6 turbo-diesel
Power: 235bhp and 332lb.ft.
Performance: 0 to 62mph in 7.3 seconds and 150mph
Fuel economy: 39.2mpg (combined)
CO2 emissions: 192g/km
The car I was talking about was Peugeot's newly released 407 coupe.
Leather-lined, imposing and sharing a silky smooth 2.7 direct injection diesel engine which would later find its way under the bonnet of Jaguar's XF saloon. It looked like a winner.
Shows how much I knew. Spotting a 407 coupe on the roads now is like spotting a Vauxhall Nova without a 17-year-old boy racer behind the wheel...
I mention this because I get a very similar feeling from Renault's new Laguna Coupe. It's a similar formula. Hopefully the results will be a little different...
First things first. If looks can make sales success Renault are laughing. The Laguna Coupe is a very attractive car.
Boasting a front end dramatically refined since its shovel-faced application on saloon and touring versions and a rear end that could have come straight from the pen of former Aston Martin designer Ian Callum, it looks the business.
Clean lines and pretty proportions ensure that this is one Renault that communicates genuine premium quality from 100 paces.
The appearance is worthy of a car worth twice the £27,460 asking price for the range-topping three-litre V6 dCi engined Coupe GT seen here (prices actually start at £20,585 for the 150bhp two-litre diesel).
Scanning the spec-sheet it's clear Renault have tried to ensure the appeal is more than skin deep.
The V6 dCi engine employs variable vane turbocharger technology to create 235bhp and 332 lb.ft. of torque. That's enough to propel the Coupe to 62mph in 7.3 seconds and on to 150mph and Renault claim fuel consumption of 39.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 192g/km.
Helping ensure all that oil-burning power is put to good use is Renault's 4Control four-wheel-steering system.
Though the front wheels are still alone in getting the power to the tarmac, 4Control sees the rear wheels turn up to 3.5 degrees to aid steering.
Renault claim this brings the manoeuvrability of a small car and stability of a long-wheelbase car and it's hard to question Renault's claims.
The Laguna Coupe GT has an uncanny ability to corner in a smooth arc, feeling as though it is fully utilising the available grip from all four tyres. "Cornering on rails," though overused, accurately sums up the sensation of cornering with 4Control.
What the system doesn't bring to the plate, however, is driver involvement.
There's an efficiency to the way corners are dispatched with surreal security and little understeer, but this is no sports car.
There's an anodyne feeling to the steering, a disconnection, which means driver and car never truly bond. Limited feedback means that you learn to trust the Laguna's abilities rather than feel what the chassis is doing.
It’s a feeling somewhat compounded by the standard fit of an six-speed automatic transmission as standard on the V6 dCi-equipped car.
What the Coupe does do well is the stylish, comfortable grand tourer thing.
The suspension isn't soft or bouncy, it's damping tightly controlled, but there's always an overriding sense of security which sets you at ease as the V6 dCi engine wafts you along.
Inside the Laguna doesn't boast the same drama, or quite the same class, as the outside—it was a tough act to follow.
Instead, the architecture is more closely aligned to the standard car.
That's no catastrophe. The quality of Renault's products has soared in the past three years and the flowing lines of the Laguna's fascia typifies a simple and stylish interior.
Controls for climate control, the impressive standard-fit Bose stereo and the Sat-Nav system have a tactile feel and are clustered around a multifunction dial on the dash and, handily, again on the centre console. It's stylish, functional, clutter free.
The leather seats (standard on the GT) are comfortable, as is the driving position, if a little upright for a sleek coupe.
Ultimately though, the interior doesn't have the flair or outright quality to combat the upmarket metal which the exterior sits so comfortably alongside.
The Laguna Coupe is a worthy figurehead for Renault, showcasing build quality, technology and its ability to make seriously stylish cars.
With 4Control on board it has few direct rivals but well-equipped, stylish and capable it's genuine competition for the base-spec BMW 3-series coupe alternative.
If Renault can get a few out on the roads I'm sure they'll have an instant hit on their hands.
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