Concept Flashback – 1990 Renault Laguna Roadster

Concept cars serve a variety of purposes in the auto business.  They can be helpful as a grand pronouncement of new ideas — even if those are years away from the showrooms of real life.  They can also be a grand distraction.  Or a grand way to bring halo hotness to a dull lineup.

And most of all, they are perfect as blank canvasses for designers to express themselves.  Take a simple idea, like a two-seat cabrio, and take it to its wildest brainstorm conclusion.  In the case of the ultra-curvy Laguna concept, this meant a mid-engine turbo four driving all four wheels.  Exotic touches are the proportions that almost look backward — this Laguna is so clearly a mid-engined hypercar by its width and height.

The looks balance out nicely with the sliding glass canopy in its rear-ward, open position.  This leaves a wide cockpit for two that is pared-down of a dashboard or other clutter for the style of it all.  Body-colored round center tunnel is a goofy 90s-theme touch that would make production by the end of the decade in the BMW Z8, Plymouth Prowler and numerous other concepts.  The seats are like a fatboy Lotus dream on wheels.

Speaking of contemporary concepts — this Leguna really expressed the jellybean aesthetic and design zeitgeist of the time.  Think original Dodge Viper concept for a reference.  The sleekness of no hard corners is elegantly expressed on Laguna with nearly no awkward shutlines or worries about actual cooling or downforce.  But like the Viper concept there is far too much cheap plastic and not enough metal.   Check out the Laguna’s hubcaps for proof.

What about those Robo-tastic virtual reality helmets the driver and passenger wear!  A smart fashion touch for the outdoor photoshoot or brilliant foresight to a world we’re entering now.

The turbo four made 210 ponies and was big news for its production-bound intent.  Beyond the motor and the Laguna name, little of this Laguna would see production until the 1996 Roadster — an altogether different car.


Concept Flashback – 1990 Renault Laguna Roadster