Renault has unveiled its latest concept - a dramatic mid-engined, gullwing coupé called the DeZir - at the Paris motor show.

The car has revealed the firm’s bold new styling direction. It’s 4.2m long, only slightly shorter than a Mégane coupé but sits almost 10cm lower than an Audi R8.

It’s powered by a mid-mounted electric motor, backed up by a lithium-ion battery. Renault says the unit produces a relatively modest 148bhp and 167lb ft, but the DeZir’s construction — a mixture of a tubular steel frame and Kevlar bodywork — means it weighs just 830kg, so it can hit 62mph in 5.0sec.

The powertrain also offers recuperated brake energy for an extra slug of performance. The battery pack’s range is around 100 miles, but it can be replenished to 80 per cent of full charge in 20 minutes using Renault’s Quick Drop fast-charging technology.

Matt Saunders blog: Will the next Clio look as good as the DeZir concept?

Renault states that “the front-end design previews the new front-end identity that is poised to become a feature of all Renault models in the future”.

That process is likely to be led by the next-generation Clio; insiders say that key cues from the DeZir’s nose, including the ‘eyelid’ headlights and exaggerated Renault logo, are likely to make it onto that car.

The two-occupant interior features a single bench seat carrying Renault logo-based graphics that are expected to be used on future production models.

Contrasting finishes of red lacquer and white leather have been used throughout the cabin, while an ambient lighting set-up is designed to make the seat appear as if it is floating.

Renault says it has been working with acoustics experts IRCAM on a ‘false’ soundtrack for the car, in place of an engine exhaust note.

The fact that the DeZir’s construction techniques are shared with the Mégane Trophy race car — built at a factory in Dieppe — is likely to add to speculation that Renault is preparing to bring back the Alpine brand that occupied the facility.

But Renault sources have denied that the model is a preview for an Alpine roadster.

John McIlroy