Renault design chief Laurens van den Acker isn’t always an easy man to interview, but he is always great value. Every bit as quirky and clever as the custom-made trainers he wears to every motor show, he is never anything but polite, but can still manage to deliver answers with such passion that his intensity occasionally borders on menacing.
To me, that hints at a man with a sense of conviction that lurks just beneath the surface, shrouded in impeccable manners but not about to be deviated from its course. I’d also argue that his strength of character is just as well, given where he’s taken Renault from since his arrival in 2009. Of course, he hasn’t achieved it all by himself, but today’s full reveal of the new Renault Megane is further proof of his team’s transformation.
Think back to his team’s designs that feel just so right today, led by a Clio that set the tone for other cheeky, characterful cars in the range, such as the Twingo, Captur and Kadjar. That front end is, in particular, a stroke of genius, working on every type and size of car they produce, and making a merit of the diamond logo that has previously caused so much trouble. Then, away from UK buyer’s eyes, the Talisman (nee Laguna) and Espace have taken a different, more grown-up direction that has clearly influenced the Megane today.