Renault designed the Talisman to fight head-to-head against the eighth-generation Volkswagen Passat, a model that’s exclusively sold in Europe. It adopts a more upscale front end with sharp headlights, a large five-slat radiator grille with an oversized Renault emblem, and curved LED daytime running lights that stretch well into the bumper. Its D-pillar is more rakish than the Laguna’s, giving the Talisman a sportier silhouette.
Inside, the Talisman stands out as one of the most technologically-advanced cars Renault has built in its 117-year history. The dashboard is dominated by a tablet-like 8.7-inch screen that runs the latest generation of Renault’s R-Link 2 infotainment system, and upscale trim levels can be ordered with a fully configurable digital instrument cluster. Additionally, the driver’s seat automatically retracts by 20 inches when the car is unlocked and quickly returns to its original position in order to facilitate the task of entering the vehicle.
It’s just as advanced under the skin, and is the only sedan in its segment available with four-wheel steering. Most models can be ordered with a long list of electronic driving aids including adaptive cruise control, emergency active braking, a heads-up display and a lane departure warning system. Finally, the Talisman is capable of parking itself.
At launch, the Talisman will be available with two gasoline-burning four-cylinder engines rated at 150 and 200 horsepower, respectively. Both mills will be bolted to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Buyers who prefer diesels will have a trio of four-cylinders to choose from: a 110-horsepower engine, a 130-horsepower unit, and a range-topping twin-turbocharged 160-horsepower mill. The 110- and 130-horsepower engines can ordered with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch, but the 160-horsepower mill exclusively ships with the dual-clutch.
Renault’s Multi-Sense technology offers four driving modes called Comfort, Sport, Eco, and Neutral, respectively. Each mode changes the feedback of the steering, the shift points of the automatic transmission, the throttle response, the stiffness of the suspension, the ambient lighting, and the sound of the engine.
Following its debut in Frankfurt, the 2016 Renault Talisman will go on sale across the Old Continent before the end of the year. A station wagon model will also bow in Frankfurt, but Renault has confirmed the slow-selling Laguna Coupe will be deep-sixed without a successor.