Renault will top and tail its line-up in 2014 with the launch of a new rear-engined city car and the unveiling of an Espace-replacing flagship car.
Concept versions of the new models will be seen this year, with the new flagship — probably badged Initiale Paris — appearing at the Frankfurt motor show in September. Concept models of the Twingo replacement have already been seen and the Twin-Z has already been made official.
Like today’s Smart platform, it uses a rear-mounted engine driving the rear wheels. This unusual layout is also appropriate for a new small Renault because the company has a long history of building small rear-engined cars, including the Dauphine, Caravelle and Renault 8.
While the Twin-Z hints at an electric version of the new model, this racy concept, spotted in Spain, seems to have been inspired by the Renault 8 Gordini. Also badged ‘Twin’, this sporting concept is due to be officially unveiled at the Monaco Grand Prix in May.
Not much is known about the proposed replacement for the Espace. Renault sources have admitted that the MPV format is no longer seen as a premium body style and that the Espaces’s airy interior, marked by large windows and thin pillars, is no longer popular with potential customers.
The sources also said the SUV format, and its sense of enclosing its passengers, is something the firm will have to take into account with the new model.