Renault Laguna Coupe - Style statement

Andrew Hopkins

The subject of coupés arouses strong passions. An outdated concept, wasteful of space etc. The coupé no longer seems relevant to our crisis-ridden times. It ranks one place below the (rightly) controversial SUV in terms of being an essentially pointless yet emotionally charged vehicle.

A coupé inevitably projects an image of decadence, arrogance and contempt for rational values. By driving a coupé, you are signalling that you are willing to sacrifice such basic virtues as space, economy and common sense to pure form. Great to know that such people still exist.

Because it was with them in mind that the Laguna Coupe was created. Following the equally successful Peugeot 407 Coupe, this is the second mid-range coupé to come out of France.

The Laguna has all the ingredients of the classic coupé: a sleek silhouette, a long elegant boot and a masculine look without appearing overbearing and excessively aggressive like a BMW 3 Coupe or an A5. Don't get me wrong: they're both great coupés. But when you take a look at the Laguna, you begin to question the rationale behind the affected aggressiveness of the German competition. Is a car only to be considered an object of beauty nowadays when the sight of it in your rear mirror sends shivers of fear down your spine?

The clarity of the Laguna's lines is surprising and, together with the familiar classy interior from the saloon model, suggests thoroughbred quality - without the need to put on a show of ferocity. One minor complaint: the headlights we saw on the prototype unveiled in Frankfurt were so much more attractive than the tired cliché they've incorporated into the series model. Nonetheless, it's OK. Coupés are by their very nature racy, sporty and muscular. Only a minority also manage to have style.