The current Renault Laguna has at times been described as bland, but head designer Patrick Le Quement has promised a change, saying that its successor will be a "very beautiful" saloon.

The current Renault Laguna has at times been described as bland, but head designer Patrick Le Quement has promised a change, saying that its successor will be a "very beautiful" saloon.

The new model will be heavily influenced by the four-seater Fluence concept first seen last year and, according to the Frenchman, will be the first production car in a new Renault design phase.

The showcar displayed a sloping front section and a vertical rear. The car's front had no radiator grille and its narrow indicators and triangular headlamps added to its futuristic front appearance.

In contrast, the rear showed a more vertical profile and the V-shaped rear window was connected seamlessly to the windscreen by two strips of glass that stretched the length of the roof before dropping down towards the tailgate. Highlighted by the elongated horizontal lights and taller central section in a different colour, the Fluence’s tailgate was connected to the central twin exhaust outlet, creating a fluid line from the car's front to its rear.

But le Quement maintains that Renault has adopted a more conservative approach to the next Laguna, foregoing the radical new design cues adopted by rivals at the risk of alienating certain buyers.

"It's better to take a big step and then consolidate for a while than to present a blizzard of innovative designs one after another and risk leaving people behind," le Quement said recently.

"The Laguna will not be controversial, exactly, but it will be very beautiful. It is time we made a really beautiful Renault saloon."

Le Quement complimented rival French manufacturer Peugeot's striking 407 design, which has troed to attract buyers with its dramatic long front overhang and bold features. "But in the new Laguna we think we have the car that will put them back in their box,' he concluded.

In the meantime. a revised Renault Laguna will be available in South Africa from May or June this year, while the next generation version (the car le Quement was talking about) will be launched in 2007.

Original article from Car