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 hasn’t given up on the concept and plans to launch a new version called ‘Active Drive,’ which will debut on the new Laguna Coupe at the Geneva Motor Show next March.

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. So confident is Renault of its new system that it pitted a Laguna sedan equipped with Active Drive up against a Porsche Boxster in a series of slalom challenges. To remain impartial, the carmaker called on the guys at EVO magazine to test the cars.

The steering is said to be “much more direct” with “sharp turn-in” and understeer was non-existent. The Renault could match the Boxster on speed and agility through the slalom and this was with a diesel powertrain and FWD layout.

The good news is that the 4WS system will eventually filter across to more of the carmaker’s lineup and we suspect other carmakers will follow suit with similar set-ups if successful.