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Renault Twin’Z concept previews next Twingo

Play time: The Twin’Z concept represents the fifth of six life-cycle inspired Renault concepts, the theme for this model being play.

French brand Renault enlists British designer for electric Twin’Z city car concept

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Renault logo9 Apr 2013

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

A PREVIEW of what the next Renault Twingo city car might look like comes in the shape of the French car-maker’s latest concept, the Twin’Z.

Rather than a motor show reveal, Renault used the annual Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano (Milan Furniture Fair) and the company enlisted British industrial designer Ross Lovegrove for the interior and some exterior finishing touches.

The fifth of six concepts in Renault’s human life-cycle design theme, the Twin’Z represents play, following the 2010 DeZir concept that represented love at first sight, the Captur (exploring the world as a couple), the R-Space (starting a family) and Friendzy (work).

A rear-mounted electric motor and battery pack located beneath the floor enable a long 2495mm wheelbase within the car’s compact 3267mm length, pushing the 18-inch wheels out to the vehicle’s extremities.

Renault says the layout “frees up exceptional cabin space and delivers high quality handling that makes it a delight to drive”.

The wheels, penned by Ross Lovegrove, feature green spokes reminiscent of tree branches – the designer is known for his organic-inspired creations – and are wrapped in special Michelin tyres with patterned sidewalls that give the impression they are part of the rim itself.

Apart from the wheels, the Twin’Z has a clean, simple design, with the other main flourish – another Ross Lovegrove creation – being the LED “roofscape”.

The concept’s multi-layered glass roof incorporates an array of LEDs that create animated patterns to “expand the occupant’s experience” and integrates with similar arrangements near the windscreen pillars and on the glass tailgate, which uses the technology to form tail-lights.

Mr Lovegrove“Passengers are hooded in a technological envelope that bathes them in a light which responds to the energy and pulse of Twin’Z,” says Ross Lovegrove. “This roofscape heightens the sensation of space and blends seamlessly into the rear window.

More LED lighting is used to link the headlights, with veins of light arcing around the dominant diamond badge that has become a feature of recent Renaults.

The Twin’Z has rear-hinged ‘suicide’ rear doors and no B-pillar, and with all doors open Ross Lovegrove’s “de-materialised” and spacious interior design.

Like the exterior, lighting plays a leading role on the concept’s cabin, with coloured illuminated stripes said to represent a flow of energy while heightening the impression of space.

Four seats, designed to look as though they are sprouting from the car’s floor, are upholstered in a blue 3D woven, self-cushioning textile through which the green seat frames – and more LED illumination – can be seen.

More space is liberated by the lack of a dashboard, with just a chunky steering column and a smartphone used as an instrument panel plus a tablet-like touch-screen that controls all other functions mounted on a post in the centre of the fascia.

Ross Lovegrove said designing a car “no longer consists merely in improving the look and feel of the drive experience”.

“It involves harnessing a new attitude towards how we integrate vehicles into everyday life by reducing harmful emissions, dematerialising the car’s physicality to achieve lightness, and maximising not only its footprint but also, and above all, its efficiency and intelligence.”

Renault senior vice-president of corporate design, Laurens van den Acker said the Twin’Z provided the company with “he ideal opportunity to place the process of automotive design under a different spotlight, a process which straddles the boundary between the world of the automobile and that of furniture”.

“For this mission, we called on the creative input of one of today’s most talented designers, and the Milan Show provided us with the ideal setting in which to reveal our latest concept car.”

Mr Van den Acker has promised another Renault concept before the Frankfurt show in September, the final piece of the life-cycle journey being wisdom, which will point to a replacement for the Laguna mid-size sedan.

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