The Fluence, Renault’s latest concept car, is an upmarket, four-seater sports coupe which was presented at the Louis Vuitton Classic concours d’élégance held for the first time at Waddesdon Manor near Aylesbury instead of its traditional home of the Hurlingham Club in London.
The Fluence is a 4.6-metre long coupé, comparable in size to a Renault’s current production Laguna (a medium, sized five-door hatchback/wagon line) and its design continues the latest theme from the French carmaker’s Design department, started with the Wind concept roadster in March.
With its sloping, streamlined front and absence of a radiator grille, attention is focused on the diamond logo. The front contrasts with the vertical profile of the rear and its wide wings are highlighted by elongated, horizontal lamps. The V-shaped rear window mirrors the slanting windscreen and two strips of glass stretch the length of the roof panel before dropping down towards the tailgate. The base of the body shell, with its aluminium finish, encircles the car which has rather impractical 22″ diameter wheels.
The concept suggests the red interiors popularised by some carmakers in the 1970s and 80s could make a comeback: Renault calls the concept’s scheme “Rouge (i.e. French for ‘red’) Margaux”.
The sides of the leather seat back and cushion fan out when the electric doors are opened, enabling adjustment of the lateral seat supports to suit individual preferences. The control panel is intuitively designed – easily selecting the car’s main functions, visible on a fold-away screen in the upper part of the dashboard, in accordance with the firm’s so-called ‘Touch Design’ philosophy.
Once on board, a vast, enveloping rear seat, comfortable for two, and adjustable reading lights that fold out of the roof after pulling on a leather cord, inspired by the world of home furnishing design, are said to create a “cosy, comfortable ambience”. The large boot provides two side storage units and a 396 litre capacity. It is accessed via the tailgate by means of an innovative opening mechanism: the tailgate slides over the roof using an articulated arm in its centre.
Such luggage compartment ingenuity is reflected in the new production Modus mini-minivan shown recently at the Madrid and Birmingham motor shows – that car features a miniature drop-down boot lid opening in its full-size, lift-up tailgate.
The Fluence concept has a front-mounted 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine developing 280hp and tuned to produce an attractive-sounding exhaust note. Renault claims the car, with six-speed automatic transmission with flick-shift control, is “as pleasurable to drive as a top-of-the-range saloon”.
The carmaker insists it has no plans to put the Fluence into production but adds its design will heavily influence new production models due out in the next two or three years.