PARIS: French carmaker Renault today launched its new Talisman model, replacing the Laguna at the top of its private passenger vehicle range in the hope it will do better against the German competition.
Aimed at a sector long dominated by German offerings from BMW and Mercedes, the Talisman will be marketed in France from the end of this year, and then rolled out in the rest of Europe, north Africa and Turkey.
"The market for these big road cars is about a million a year in Europe. There is no reason for Renault to be absent from the segment," a spokesman said at the launch in Chantilly, near Paris.
Early models of the Laguna, launched in 1994, suffered from reliability problems, and the trade press criticised a decision to keep the name when the Laguna III hit the market in 2007.
The Laguna III has sold only 345,000 units since launch, including 16,000 last year. The first and second Laguna versions sold 1.4 and 1.1 million respectively.
Renault has focused on design, equipment and comfort to win market share for the Talisman, which is also slightly bigger than its predecessor.
The Talisman will be offered in two petrol units and three diesel powerplants, being efficient, high-performance small-displacement engines.
Its range of engine options includes the Energy TCe 200 petrol unit and the Energy dCi 160 and Energy dCi 130 diesels that can also be specified for the new Espace. Renault said these engines perform even better in the Talisman, which is some 200kg lighter than its large crossover, while the new saloon’s Cd is a low 0.27.
These downsized powerplants, boasting latest-generation technologies such as direct petrol injection and steel pistons, all bear the “Energy” label through the fact that they incorporate either one or two turbochargers, Stop&Start technology and energy recovery under braking.
All of the Talisman’s diesel engines will be fitted with NOx Traps and a particulate filter. Their LNT (Lean NOx Trap) technology offers the advantage of being maintenance-free.
Depending on variant, transmission choices are a seven-speed dual-clutch EDC automatic transmission, a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed dual-clutch EDC automatic transmission.
The Talisman, a name taken from an existing Renault car marketed in China, will appear at the Frankfurt auto show in September.