Megane Coupé concept is close to final production car
5 March 2008

Renault’s new Megane Coupé concept is, according to Renault’s design director Patrick le Quement, ’80 percent representative’ of the production Megane replacement that will be unveiled at the Paris motor show in October.The production version will lose the show car’s attractive split gullwing doors, of course, but there will be distinct differences between its 5-door hatchback form and as a booted coupé, as previewed here. This 4.5-metre long Coupé concept signals a returns to form for Renault’s design, too, following some criticism for the Laguna’s conservatism. Le Quement admitted that Renault “had been through a hesitant phase” but said that design clarity and workplace morale have both recovered. “In all companies, you get peaks and troughs,” he said.The Megane Coupé concept is the first Renault, if not the world’s first production car, to have been designed entirely digitally. “Carlos Ghosn’s 26 models [in the ambitious Renault Commitment 2009 plan] meant we had to change our process,” le Quement told Autocar. “We asked, ‘how much time could we save if we went 100 percent digital?’ The answer was 18 weeks. So we started development 18 weeks late.”Instead of making physical models, Renault’s designers now see their cars represented digitally, driving through any of 32 different scenes: last year they made more than 3000 short films to assess their designs. “I’m living probably the most exciting time in my automotive career,” said le Quement. “Up until now automobile design has been static, and imagined dynamically. Now we immediately see our designs dynamically. We are designing automobiles; not auto-immobiles.”More conventional will be the production car’s powertrain line-up: initially a selection of four-cylinder petrols and diesels. This concept ostensibly has a 200bhp, 2.0-litre turbodiesel: the Coupé Concept is a show car, not a concept car, said le Quement, and therefore much more representative of the production model it mirrors: “Tell me in Paris if I’m a liar,” he said.

Matt Prior

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