Year: 1999 `````````````````````````````````````` Type: 5-Door Hatchback
Country: France `````````````````````````````````` Host: GT2
¼ Mile: 15.889 @ 89 mph
1KM: 28.885 @ 116 mph
Top Speed: 149.38 @ 6,750 rpms
Engine: 3.0 liter DOHC V6
193 hp @ 6,100 rpm /
197 ft-lbs. @ 4,000
Pound / HP ratio: 16.78
HP / Liter: 65.6
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Layout: Front engine / Front drive
There's not much to say about this handsome French car. Enter ‘Renault Laguna’ into a search
engine, and 90,000+ sites to show up; most of them have little to say of interest to us Gran Turismo fans, other than the
fact that this car was the first to get a 5-star rating in Europe's most grueling of crash tests.
Renault packs the Laguna with all kind of accident-resitant materials, air bags, and the like, to
make it one of the safest mid-size cars from the old country. In GT2, this translates to weight, over 3,200 pounds
of it! The car itself isn't really that large, though (177.4" length, 68.9" width, 56.7" height) and it seems to do okay on
the tracks, too.
The Laguna was born in 1990--as a concept car, of course. The original has nothing to do with the sedate,
family-oriented 5-door we can buy and race. To see a picture of it, just go to www.lagunasport.co.uk/history.html and drool.
-------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN-------------------
$32,550 is a lot to pay for a car none of us in America have ever heard of, which makes one wonder if the
Laguna has anything to offer.
My family had a couple Renaults when I was a kid, including a Renault 10 sedan and a front-drive Renault
12 station wagon. Actually both of them were front-drive. This was in the '70s, and we had the smallest, strangest cars on
our block, which other kids occasionally made fun of. They were also very under-powered when carrying the entire family. I
wouldn't be surprised if we're talking less than 100 horses.
Not so with the '99 Laguna, which comes with a 193 horsepower 3.0 liter DOHC V6, and this
can be boosted to 261 (spec 1); 317 (spec 2); or 380 (spec 3).
These cars don't accept turbos, but let's be honest: 380 hp in a front-drive car is a lot to handle. The
Laguna accelerates well even before its engine or drivetrain have been modified, and its top speed of 149 mph
is a nice start, too. The pound to weight ratio is 16.78...a bit high, so get a couple of reductions along with your engine
There is a big difference between the standard and close ratio gearboxes, especially the all-important 5th
speed, which raises from the .8's to over 1.0 when we make the switch. This will kill your Laguna's top speed, so use street
gearing unless you're at a track like Tahiti or Autumn Ring. Don't bother with super-close gearing. Waste of money.
-----------------CHASSIS / HANDLING---------------
French cars have a reputation for being very softly sprung and smooth-riding on the highways. The Laguna's
standard spring rates of 2.3 kg/mm front and 2.0 rear seem average till we consider how much this car weighs and the 5.9"
of ground clearance, so don't be baffled to find a lot of jellyish behaviour from this one before you've got at least a semi-racing
The Renault Laguna V6 surprises us in the handling department. For one thing, understeer is very controllable
even though this car is front-drive...especially with semi-racing equipment. It's the OVERSTEER that will shock you! Yes...the
Laguna is one hell of a fish-tailer. It will occasionally be prone to a spin, so keep this in mind when setting up your suspension
and brakes. Overall, it's not really horrible to have danger lurking as we drive this car; it actually
makes things rather interesting to drive. The power this engine is packing will pull the Laguna V6 out of most any power-slide
gone awry one will be faced with.
As far as tires go: you can use sports till you've got stage 3 engine tuning installed. Slicks will help
control the oversteer if you put them on when the car is at stage 2, but for those of us who 1›
can't afford them yet, or
2› have a bit of experience, sports will be more of a challenge to race with.
So before you pass this car up for a..ah, never mind. My show's about to come on.
1). Decent acceleration and speed come standard.
2). Power mods + weight reductions = a good HP / pound ratio.
3). Good handling/low understeer in a FWD car is hard to find.
4). Drift-lovers will find that this car packs a few surprises!
5). The FWD can be relied upon to pull us out of the worst of spins. This Renault is really good at exiting
6). Race kit available.
1). This Renault may be safe in real life due to all the equipment and materials they pack it with, but
it's also heavy due to all the equipment and materials they pack it with.
2). Dopey suspension isn't made for racing at all. Upgrade to semi-racing immediately.
3). Be prepared for many of degrees of oversteer when racing the Laguna (mild, medium, and extra spicy).
4). Some may say this car is too expensive; spec 3 tuning +racing parts cost over twice what the car is
Published: July 1st, 2004