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First look: Renault reveals future coupe

Powerful statement: The Fluence is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine.

Renault previews a possible sports coupe future with Fluence concept

8 Jun 2004

RENAULT has hinted at future model plans to build a sports coupe with its latest concept car.

Called Fluence, the four-seat hard-top made its public debut at the prestigious Louis Vuitton Classic in England on June 4.

Fluence measures up at 4600mm long, has a 2750mm wheelbase and is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine producing 206kW and 385Nm.

"Fluence is both a drawing and a sculpture. It blends bearing, generosity, elegance and fluidity," said Renault design chief Patrick le Quement.

It also appears to be a precursor to a production coupe, something Renault has been keen on for a while. But no confirmation of that - or timing - has been announced, although early 2006 was suggested by one source.

Certainly it lines up as obvious competition for great rival Peugeot's 406 coupe.

It is also a further indication of Renault's commitment to expanding its sports line-up in the wake of the Wind convertible concept revealed at the Geneva show in March, which was a Mazda MX-5 rival.

Fluence contrasts a sloping nose with a vertical rear-end. Up front there is a double strip of LEDs behind two transparent curved glass lenses which serve as headlights.

The diodes illuminate as the steering angle changes to provide multi-directional lighting when cornering.

At the rear there are wide wings, highlighted by elongated, horizontal lights, and a taller central section in a different colour. This section connects the rear window with a twin centre exhaust outlet, framed by an air extractor.

Front to rear the car is connected by a series of horizontal lines, while a V-shaped rear window connects to the windscreen by two strips of glass that stretch the length of the roof before dropping down towards the tailgate.

The look is completed by huge 22-inch wheels, a size typical of concept cars.

35 center image In the predominantly red interior are leather seats which have backs and sides that fan out when the doors open, waiting for occupants. The door armrests are mounted on a runner so they can adjust their position in conjunction with the seats.

The leather dashboard’s design resembles a leaf that has been rolled then nipped at its centre. This leaf theme is repeated in the design of the centre console.

Fluence also features Renault’s version of a BMW-style iDrive controller. Using a joystick, the driver selects the car’s main functions which are shown on a fold-away screen in the upper part of the dashboard.

In the rear Renault designers used home furnishing for their inspiration so there are reading lamps that fit flush with the headlining and when required are released by pulling a leather tab then tilted to the ideal angle.

Flunce’s engine sits transversely in the engine bay, mates to a six-speed automatic transmission with sequential controls and drives the front wheels.

Weighing in at 1500kg, Renault claims Fluence can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds.

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