When it turned out that the French invited to get acquainted with the top version of the GT, the question of why it was here - in the emotional, expressive Italy, disappeared by itself. Which Russian (German, French, etc.) does not like …
Other questions arose. Roughly next year there will be a re-rewritten Laguna of the third generation. And for the time being, the French edited the second. How and what exactly have changed? From the airport we arrived at the hotel, and the answers, torn to shine, were expected in the parking lot. About Laguna Bell! How many languor, charm in them (and before restyling, the model was a tidbit for the looks of a little thing, now it has found bright features of Megane II). Neither give nor take flirt …
"Transparent" optics, a shorter and convex hood, a huge diamond rhombus in the center of the lining. It turned out … sexy liners! Eternal, recruiting youth, multiplied by the size of the segment D - with hatchback and station wagon bodies. I rushed, it was, to all the cars at once. Oh yes, yes - the date is only for GT. Just how to determine?
In the list of the European assortment, the description of the GT goes in red and this helps a lot. Do you think Laguna II with the Gran Turismo extension is out of the ordinary? You are mistaken, outwardly - not at all. Meanwhile, the series is long - there are many other options. Several versions (incrementally - Pack, Confort, Luxe, Initiale), each divided into "equipment levels" (Authentique, Expression, Dynamique and Privilege). Do not forget the options. And make an easy choice of four gasoline engines, three diesel engines and four more gearboxes. Europeans - go and drown (in the lagoon)!
I mean, look … From the obvious external signs of the GT we have: the original front air intake, reduced ground clearance, special 17-inch Michelin Pilot Exalto 2 tires, wheels with matt chrome. The station wagon is also distinguished by matte rails and tinted rear windows.
There is no mistake, the utility body is also “in the know”, the popularity of station wagons with sports notes is growing. The "shortage" of the ostentatious exclusive GT is easily explained. The version is positioned along with the richly equipped Luxe and Initial, but their customers are oriented towards comfort. They unnecessarily main difference GT.
And this is the engine! Supercharged, fifth in a series of gasoline, 2.0 Turbo engine with 205 horsepower - here it is, exclusive. The unit is combined only with a 6-speed manual gearbox and tuned to a sports chassis! So what are we waiting for? The statue of the famous Leonardo da Vinci, whose name is given to the airport near Rome, has long and approvingly raised a hand, as if giving a command to start.
We plop down with a colleague into the station wagon. What a nuisance - they forgot to take a key card from the French! Until you insert it into the slot, it is useless to press the start button. “Press, sil woo ple! - the approached instructor points to the glove compartment. “The map is there.” Another innovation, the card now with a hands-free function (for expensive versions - the standard), you can not remove it from your pocket at all. Well, grazie … merci, that is. Click and taxi out.
They say that there is a crisis? I can’t believe it. Radiant in eyewitness accounts, Italy appeared just like that: the sun, colors, the breath of the invisible sea bursting through a huge hatch. Italians … more Italians! Italians again! Do not think I'm talking about cars. The first impression is that the country is the main consumer of national auto products. Alfa, Fiat, Lancia, Fiat-Fiat-Fiat, Maserati, Fiat-Fiat-Fiat-Fiat … Italian abundance of motorcycles, scooters and touching three-wheeled scooters in the city, Italian trucks in the right lane of the front highway that opened in front.
Without stopping, we pass the point with barriers in front of the toll section of the road. The organizers installed the Telepass system for us - in essence, a pass, only remote.
Italy looks at us from the large display of the navigation system crowning the center console. In general, the Laguna II interior was thoroughly redesigned - in terms of workmanship, ergonomics. The console and instrument cluster are completely different. Both are beautiful and … not too informative.
The dials are due to some toy. On the console you need to get used to the remote control of a new separate “climate” (for rich versions): not the three old knobs, but the fashionable algorithm for adjusting the flow directions and fan speed with buttons. Feel the buttons and - “Attention to the screen!” - there is symbolism. The Cabasse Tronic audio system was shown off: under the already well-known “camouflage lid” the changer lurks lonely.
Landing, on the contrary, does not require a habit at all. A rudder with thickenings in places of the "correct" grip runs in two planes. The seats cannot be blamed for the "French" softness - they look and hold like strong friends. Sit down and stretch wider than the mirror - I would feel at home in Italy.
And the navigation system is everywhere at home. The French are terribly proud of the multimedia Carminat with voice control - in addition to the guidebook, it is associated with “music” and a Bluetooth telephone headset. The remote control with a joystick (greetings to the BMW Idrives, Audi emails, and VW InfoTainments) got so comfortable at hand on the tunnel that I did not immediately realize the loss … of the hand brake lever! The handbrake has become electronic: it is tightened with an inconspicuous handle, and turned off by simply pressing the gas.
There are no official “navigators” in Russia yet. You can talk only abroad, and we quickly became friends with the "aunt-of-display", for the seed flashing through the city turn. The system immediately calculated a new route to the dialed destination and led on. Like a nanny. A sweet voice ahead of time warns of a maneuver; next to the picture of the route, an even more visual image of the denouement appears. Before turning, you are again given a command, and then informed when the next maneuver. Such a care!
By noon, the stream revives and turns into a kaleidoscope. Cars are mostly middle class. Russian auto-journalists often write: “The model is addressed to such-and-such Europeans, but we have a novelty, probably … uh, most likely, maybe it will do …” Around - no “maybe”! Remembering the address messages, I see in the salons of specific recipients.
Marketing rules! It is full of cars that the Russians are unlikely to see at all or see soon … Here comes the unattainable BMW 5-Series Touring. Then Renault Megane II Break is ahead of us, a car carrier with brand new Renault Modus rumbles a bit further … It is no coincidence that I track the diamond emblems. Renault’s big plans for Russia are not limited to one Logan. There will be Modus and Grand Scenic, and Trafic (by the way, who threw us from the airport) will be brought in mid-April.
The “Frenchwoman” Laguna II is not a stranger here, she merges with the multinational stream and demonstrates the best qualities, wanting to distract us from nostalgia. Fortunately, it doesn’t come to the demonstration of improved passive safety systems (five EuroNCAP stars!). In the "passive" - new front head restraints, "children's" head-transformers at the rear, regular pillows (eight of them). In the "asset" - the next generation of stabilization ESP with traction control ASR. Whether the air affected, no - I do not remember that the electronics interfered. Although there was plenty of temperament. Italian!
However, we were not impudent. Speed limits in cities - 50 km / h, on country roads - 110 and 130. Signs threaten with silhouettes of carabinieri with a radar … no, I don’t want to break. I'm lying! I want to. Very naturally Laguna II is gaining and maintaining speed. And he does it captivatingly quietly (again, revision), only at high speed rustling in the mirrors, and at high speeds the engine starts the song.
In areas of poor coverage, the rear suspension also remotely responds. Forgive, because the general picture of smoothness is blissfully bourgeois. The motor behaves as befits the hero of the occasion, as if the organizer of the test. She doesn’t make any obvious claims to the selection of gears, she adequately accelerates the station wagon to the sixth, quietly pulls from 1500 rpm, invariably revives after 3000, and when immersed, she almost jumps out from under the hood. The cooperation box succeeds a little worse, the lever stumbles a little. But the numbers seemed to fit you.
“Aunt-from-Display” takes us north, to where the desert puppet towns diversify the landscape, while others remind us of the books of Gianni Rodari. The terrain is more and more hilly (the engine remains well done), the roads are increasingly narrow and winding. They twist in spirals, curl snakes along the slopes.
Italians may not be the most disciplined drivers. We saw a guy galloping and rushing along the highway on a three-door Alfa (this is how some G8s ride in their homeland). But local masterfully know how to take turns! From the valley we rise to storm the serpentine, we reach the peak, for a few seconds we see Tuscany, as if in the palm of our hands, and we dive again. Napra-nale-napra-napra-left. Already dizzy. A step to the side is an escape. Downhill, not somewhere! And here the refinement of the GT chassis begins to manifest itself more strongly.
Laguna II can turn. More precisely, to stay in a bend, while the steering wheel lacks a distinct “middle”. The gear ratio for the GT is not changed. But they reduced the reaction time, improving stability and reducing rolls. It was a complete success. The wide tires are ready to groan, and the station wagon diligently writes an arc. Cheerfully!
The mood is spoiled … by a delivery “heel” (Italian, Italian!), Which hangs on its tail with interest and does not lag behind: “Look, does someone think that he knows how to ride ?!” Laguna II smacks in the next turns, just doesn’t strike the front bumper, and the damned “heel” looms in half a meter. And then a road train leaves because of a turn. Brakes !!! It leaves on the oncoming one, does not fit … Neither a signal, nor a blinking of headlights. After that, the pursuer fell away - his brakes are clearly worse than ours …
Evening press conference.
“Do you like the GT?”
"Si-and-and! Oh yeah! When?!"
Never … The Russians fell silent. Alas, they promise to deliver other cars to us. Although why, in fact, alas. The body is new, the interior is new (there will be sports seats, but other colors). Suspension, another suspension! The French prepared three options: standard, "grand touristic", but we are supposed to adapt.
And yet - the “Russian” 2-liter turbo-Laguna will be quieter: there will be no 205-horsepower blown engine, it is afraid of Russian fuel. They will offer another 2.0T unit, less powerful (170 hp), with a low-pressure turbine. Okay, that's good too! New diesel engines are not yet expected. Well, there will be no navigation system, it’s already so clear …
Stop! It turns out that the French have already mapped Moscow and St. Petersburg. Freshly tradition, no kidding. According to our information, many automakers want to help customers wandering in our megacities - Russification is coming. The question is, how will they (systems) keep up with the constant changes along with the road workers? And for the Laguna II trim levels for Russia, there are still questions. For information, in Europe, the novelty starts at 20, 100 euros for a hatchback; the station wagon is more expensive by 1, 000.
Why was they invited to get acquainted with the GT? My colleague and I got the answer the next day, when, heading to the airport behind the wheel of a sports hatchback, they got lost. Tightly! And it turned out this way: the “display aunt” ordered us to turn, we obeyed and belatedly realized that there were two branches there, almost one after another. The trick is that Carminat can draw three paths: the fastest, shortest and the most free (to bypass toll highways).
Our nanny calculated the shortest, but after each error - again, without reporting an oversight. We could ride around the country, slowly approaching the airport, all day. In a town with dozens of streets one Laguna wide, the system made a real "Zarnitsa".
Having been dusty at construction sites, visiting well yards and a market square, sweating with fear, we nevertheless figured out. We rushed a bullet along mountain spirals! Then they whistled along the coast in such a way that it seemed that the road was rushing into my brain. (Needless to say, the Telepass point was temporarily closed, and in front of everyone who was not lazy, they decided to slow down). If you weren’t a colleague, a “polygon driver,” a professional tester, you would now read another author.