What is it? The Renault Laguna Coupe, the lesser-spotted Audi A5 rival that actually makes up around a quarter of Laguna sales in the UK. This is the Monaco GP special edition, which costs £23,805. Technical highlights? Standard on the Monaco (an option elsewhere in the Laguna range) is 4Control, a four-wheel-steering system, which helps improve turn in and quell understeer. With a heavy 2-litre turbodiesel driving the front wheels, that’s important. This special edition is essentially a ticking of attractive option boxes with minimal impact on the list price – a similarly specced A5 would apparently top £37,000 – plus some mildly tacky white interior trim inside and generous use of a Monaco GP logo. What’s it like to drive? The steering is very well weighted and the six-speed manual gearchange precise, while the 178bhp, 295lb ft engine is rich in torque. It provides brisk progress and is quiet at speed while the ride is pleasingly compliant, adding to the car’s admirable cruising abilities. Of most interest to us, of course, is the four-wheel steering. And it works well. The car feels heavier than its 1.5-ton kerb weight suggests at times, but 4Control helps keep the Laguna’s mass in check and tucks the tail around tight bends. Overall, it’s dynamically very capable but falls short of the fun its Renaultsport cousins provide. How does it compare? It’s cheaper than its four-seater coupe rivals such as the BMW 3-series, Audi A5 and Mercedes C-class coupe but doesn’t quite possess their cachet. Instead, it’s a plush, spacious and value-for-money alternative. Anything else I should know? While the Laguna Coupe differs from its five-door sibling by majoring on retail sales, it’s a good-looking company car option nonetheless, its dCi engine providing frugal figures of 49.5mpg and 150g/km.
|Engine||In-line 4-cyl, 1995cc, turbodiesel|
|Max power||178bhp @ 3750rpm|
|Max torque||295lb ft @ 2000rpm|