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Future models - Renault - DeZir

First look: Renault generates desire with DeZir

Uplifting: Renault's DeZir concept heralds the French company's new look.

New Renault design chief creates a sexy scissor-door coupe concept for Paris

Renault logo6 Jul 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

FORMER Mazda design chief Laurens van den Acker appears to have wasted little of his short time at Renault, where he has overseen the development of this stunning new mid-engine scissor-door coupe concept.

While Mazda itself is expected to reveal its future styling direction under new design boss Ikuo Maeda in Milan in late August, Mr van den Acker’s breathtaking new DeZir will herald the French firm’s latest design language a month later at the Paris motor show on September 30.

At just 4225mm long, an expansive 1986mm wide and only 1163mm high, the DeZir – a play on the word desire, in case you missed it – is almost 100mm lower than an Audi R8 and slightly shorter than the Megane coupe, which will head a gaggle of new third-generation Megane models from Renault in Australia around October.

Naturally, the low-slung coupe concept, which could enter production as Renault’s answer to the stylish RCZ coupe from its French arch-rival Peugeot, is powered by an advanced electric drive system, in this case comprising a mid/rear-mounted electric synchronous motor from Renault’s upcoming production EVs.

Upgraded to output 110kW and 226Nm, the drive motor is powered by a 24kWh lithium-ion battery, mounted vertically behind the single bench seat, which is cooled by bodyside air scoops and can allegedly be fast-charged to 80 per cent capacity in 20 minutes.

35 center imageRenault says the rear-wheel drive DeZir, which is based on a tubular steel frame and has a kerb weight of just 830kg, offers a zero-emissions driving range of about 160km, a top speed of 180km/h and can accelerate to 100km/h in just five seconds.

Wrapped in Kevlar bodywork that gives the car an aerodynamic drag coefficient of only 0.25Cd, the DeZir rides on massive 21-inch wheels with 245/35-section Michelin tyres. It’s also said to feature a brake energy regeneration system and an active differential.

Renault also says it has been working with acoustics experts IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique) to develop a computer-generated soundtrack for the all-electric coupe, instead of a traditional engine exhaust note.

Exactly how much, if any, of the edgy two-door showcar, which features rear-hinged scissor doors that open outwards and upwards at the same time, reaches production is unknown, by Renault says the DeZir’s front-end design “previews the new front-end identity that is poised to become a feature of all Renault models in the future”.

The next-generation Clio is expected to be the first new Renault model to take on the new van den Acker-led frontal design theme – including the DeZir’s new ‘eyelid’ headlights and oversized Renault logo, which aim to prove Renault’s “commitment to more emotional styling”.

Inside the two-passenger DeZir is a single bench seat bearing Renault graphics, which could also become future Renault cabin themes, plus contrasting white leather and red lacquer surfaces, a ‘floating’ ambient lighting system and central colour touch-screen.

Some European reports have speculated that because the DeZir is produced in the same Dieppe factory in France where Renault previously produced vehicles for its Alpine sub-brand – and uses similar construction techniques and double wishbone suspension architecture to Renault’s Megane Trophy racecar – it could preview the return of a new-generation Alpine roadster.

Renault says the DeZir demonstrates that “electric vehicles and a love of cars are by no means incompatible”.

“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,” said Renault’s director of concept car and show car design Axel Breun.

“The result is a warm, stimulating design that says ‘Renault’.”

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