Renault is breaking away from the angular styling favored by its former design chief, Patrick Le Quement. The French company will show a concept car that highlight’s the brand’s more emotional design at the Paris auto show in October.
“DeZir is a statement of our new formal design language which conveys notions such as movement, sensuality and emotion through ideal proportions, in much the same way as an object whose forms have been honed by nature. The result is a warm, stimulating design that says ‘Renault’,” explains Axel Breun, Renault’s Director of Concept Car and Show Car Design.
Renault’s design team, now led by Mazda ex-patriot Laurens van den Acker, lent the car a modern feel with some conceptual touches — the floating Renault logo adds some flair, but doesn’t grab attention like the gullwing doors. Although they open in opposite directions, each door swings up to reveal a shocking red and white interior, said to evoke an “amorous encounter.”
The car will power by electric motor, which is rated at 150 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque, drives the rear wheels, and is mounted behind the cabin in a mid/rear position (a break from tradition, as Alpines almost always hung the engine/transaxle at the aft end of the car). A 24-kWh lithium-ion battery is vertically mounted behind the seat, and can power the car for up to 100 miles — unless you drive it fast. Renault says the DeZir can zip from 0 to 62 mph in five seconds flat, and ultimately reach a top-end of 112 mph.
Those performance times are achieved thanks in no small part to some trick bodywork. We’re told the coupe’s bodywork is fabricated from Kevlar, and van den Acker’s slick shape lends the DeZir a drag coefficient (cD) of 0.25. The tubular steel frame is similar to that employed on the Megane Trophy race car, although nowhere as exotic as the bonded aluminum chassis used on the Renault Sport Spider. Renault does equip the concept with a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), similar to that fitted to its F1 cars. By recovering energy during deceleration, the car can provide the driver with a temporary power boost, which can be activated via a button on the steering wheel.
The French automaker says the fluid shape of the DeZir “lays the foundations for the styling cues of Renault’s forthcoming vehicles” and that the vehicle’s debut “marks the start of a sequence of concept cars that will provide an insight into Renault Design’s new vision for the future.”
The company said its new design language draws inspiration from three keywords: simple, sensuous and warm. It didn’t fully explain the DeZir name (apparently it’s supposed to be pronounced like “desire,” which is, in fact, “desir” in French), other than to say the Z refers to Renault’s Z.E. nomenclature for its zero-emissions vehicles.
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