New Laguna Coupé's a Nissan!

Nissan badge
14 Nov, 2006 (All day) Sam Hardy

Nissan's latest offering will be wearing a Renault badge...

It's a new coupé - but one that's having a real identity crisis! Thanks to an exclusive spy shot in this week's mag, Auto Express can bring you the first picture of Nissan's latest luxury sports model, the Altima...  but it will be wearing a Renault badge when it hits UK dealerships.

Confused? Well, the French firm is planning a coupé version of the new Laguna - which we've already caught testing in France in hatchback form.

With company boss Carlos Ghosn committing to 26 new Renault models between now and 2009, the scene is set for the Laguna Coupé, which would borrow underpinnings from the Altima, thanks to Renault's alliance with Nissan.

Unlike many US-only models built by the Japanese firm, the Altima has a front-engined, front-wheel-drive configuration, rather than a rear-drive layout. That means a Laguna Coupé would slot directly into the exclusively front-drive Renault line-up.

Powered by the same 3.5-litre V6 as the Altima and with around 260bhp, the Laguna would have a 0-60mph time of less than seven seconds and a top speed of 140mph. Expect it to offer a comfort-oriented driving experience, so as not to step on the toes of Nissan's sporty 350Z, with most versions getting an automatic gearbox.

In terms of styling, the new model will be influenced by the firm's Nepta concept. The Laguna Coupé is likely be revealed in 2008, with sales starting later that year, at a price of around £25,000.

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