Renault at the London motor show 2008

Published: 22 July 2008

London motor show video

With the Paris motor show coming up in October 2008, it’s a surprise Renault had anything of interest to offer show-goers at this week’s London exhibition. But Renault UK had other ideas…

What’s new on Renault’s London motor show stand?

The French firm’s R26.R – a lightweight, stripped-out Megane, made its world debut. The firm also had its Megane Coupe Concept, a model that gives us an idea of what the forthcoming sporty version of the Megane will look like when it’s launched in Paris in autumn 2008. For people carrier lovers, the new Kangoo is making its UK debut too.

CAR’s Renault highlight

If a Porsche 911 GT3 RS is stretching the wallet too far, the R26.R offers its spirit for a fraction of the price. On sale in October 2008 for £22,990, it’s got a stripped-out interior, a carbonfibre bonnet and plastic rear and tailgate windows, shaving 123kg from the weight. Just think about that. A carbonfibre bonnet. On a Renault hatchback… this thing is pretty serious. Indeed, Renault claims the R26.R is the fastest front-wheel drive hatchback around the Nurburgring. A claim that some on the neighbouring Ford stand were less than pleased with.

What were they thinking?

The Koleos still looks exactly what it is: a Korean-designed soft roader. It’s capable and comfy on-road but putting one wheel on a sorry-looking plastic rock isn’t going to convince anyone of its off-road abilities.

In a nutshell

It might only be one for performance car fans, but the R26.R was a genuine world debut – and a genuine surprise on show day. Nice one Renault.

Click here to go to CAR’s London motor show A-Z homepage  

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French Supremacy

Well it was an easy win to have the best French Manufacturers stand. That said no car launches, Paris again will get those, but some interesting concept cars, lots of current cars and an interesting hands on stand

Forget that, I sat in the Megane Coupe Concept car

This was what I hoped press day might bring (though the girl in the ING racing suit was a close second)
A Mr Benois, a designer whose position in Renault was never made clear but who’d obviously had a big hand in this cars design and construction. Plus he had the authority to let me sit in the car as it whirred around on the stand. Once the cool butterfly doors were opened I was allowed to, after emptying my pockets so as not to leave any marks, sit in the Recarros that were about the price of a lead in Twingo. At nearly £3 million it’s the most expensive car I’ve sat in. No key instead it opens via your phone.

But is it relevant?

Actually yes. Sadly the doors won’t make it due to cost but also because Renault does not want to lose its 5 star NCAP monopoly. However the video door mirrors and fixed seating concepts might because they do add a safety dimension and actually cost less to manufacture than traditional seat runners and wing mirrors. As for phone entry well Mr Benois says ‘quoi.

Click here to go to CAR’s London motor show A-Z homepage