Four-wheel-steering (4WS) is one of those technologies that never really made it past the 1980s in great success. It featured on a string of high-performance Nissan models through the ‘90s but the extra cost and the weight disadvantage of the system won it few fans considering its only real benefit was a slight reduction in understeer. Renault, however, never gave up on the idea and recently launched its new Laguna GT (pictured) with a new advanced 4WS system.

Renault’s new design uses a computer to monitor steering inputs, vehicle speed and traction every 10 milliseconds and adjusts the angle of the rear wheels to suit. At speeds below 60km/h, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the fronts - up to an angle of 3.5 degrees. At speeds above 60km/h, all four wheels turn in the same direction. The set-up is claimed to make steering more direct and nearly eliminates understeer at almost any speed – an impressive feat in a FWD car like the Laguna GT. It also enables the midsize Laguna to have a turning circle about the same size as that of the Clio compact hatch.

Renault now plans to introduce 4WS on even more models. Speaking with AutoTelegraaf recently, Renault engineer Patrick Lezy said the system will appear on several other cars starting with the upcoming Laguna Coupe due in September. Beyond the new Coupe, Renault could also add the system to its next-generation Megane but no decision has been made yet.