Perhaps nothing makes 2009 seem longer ago than the Renault Laguna Coupe V6 GT. Think about it. This is a flagship front-wheel drive coupe from a mainstream manufacturer intended very much as a halo model, the kind of thing that hasn't happened since, well, about 2009. And while the demise of the two-door coupe is a shame, it seems that cars like the BMW Z4, Nissan 350Z and Vauxhall Monaro will be more fondly remembered than alternatives like the Laguna, Hyundai Coupe and Peugeot 407.
The Renault had style on its side, at least. Launched at the Paris show at the end of 2008, the Coupe turned a dowdy hatch into a proper looker courtesy of some broader tracks and Aston Martin design influences. If nothing else, a coupe should be about style, and Renault certainly had that nailed. To make it a sharper drive than the equivalent hatch, all the Coupes were offered with the four-wheel steer only seen on GT five-doors, with a 25 per cent stiffer body as well. Firmer springs and dampers were intended to further enhance sportiness.
The fact that nobody really remembers the Laguna Coupe says a good deal about how well those modifications worked. The four-wheel steer was difficult to predict (a trait that continued into later Meganes) and the ride was criticised for too firm in a car at the GT end of the two-door sports car spectrum. This isn't what you would call an undiscovered gem from the 2000s, at least as far as driving enjoyment is concerned.
But think of it this way: the GT V6 remains a rare, stylish, interesting two-door coupe, using the engine from the Nissan 350Z. It was significantly detuned for the front-wheel drive installation (240hp, from 309), and many preferred the torquier diesel at the time, but times change. Taking on a 12-year-old V6 petrol car is surely a more appealing prospect in 2021 than an equivalent diesel, however well the 3.0-litre DCi suited the package.
This one is said to boast a full service history to back up its 77,000 miles, and its MOT history doesn't contain anything terrifying, either. Just as relevantly, it still looks good, which is more than can be said for a lot of its front-wheel drive contemporaries. The interior has aged rather less well - look at the size of that gear lever! - though this one doesn't seem to have worn excessively. It's easy to imagine whiling away the miles in those big leather chairs (because we all know that a firm riding car in 2009 will be positively plush by the standards of 2021.)
This one is for sale at £9,990, which seems a lot given that a comparable 350Z can be bought for similar money. But then the lusty Nissan is not for everyone, and that's what deserves to be celebrated about cars like the Laguna Coupe. The niche they occupied was miniscule, and therefore interesting because of it. As cars seemingly continue on a path to homogeneity, so the appeal of the old outliers will only increase. And there's little as oddly enticing as the V6-engined, two-door Renault Laguna that looked a bit like an Aston Martin. Imagine telling anyone about that in another 10 years' time.
SPECIFICATION | RENAULT LAGUNA COUPE GT V6
Engine: 3,498cc, V6
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 240@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 243@4,400rpm
First registered: 2009
Recorded mileage: 77,000
Price new: £27,995
Price now: £9,990
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