Tag Archives: Quément

Velocity and Satisfaction – Renault velSatis

Going into the new Millennium Renault’s chief of design Patrick Le Quement attempted to redefine the prestige car in French terms and target a less conformist customer base by presenting the flagship velSatis concept at the Paris Motor show in 1998 and 2 door Avantime concept in 1999.

Renault velSatis, Silverstone,

Named after the compound concept of Velocity and Satisfaction, despite it’s minivan proportions and size, the production velSatis was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in 2001.

Renault velSatis, Silverstone,

Sharing a platform with the Laguna and Espace IV Minivan the velSatis was awarded the highest 5 star EuroNCAP safety rating.

Renault velSatis, Silverstone,

The 3 litre / 183 cui 24 valve V6 dCi diesel engine was generally regarded as best suited to the cars “lounge lizard pretensions”.

Renault velSatis, Silverstone,

The cars handling was not so highly rated and it is not recorded if there were any handling improvements for the velSatis that was specially prepared for the French Presidential fleet up until 2009.

Renault velSatis, Silverstone,

In 2005 the velSatis was face lifted but there was no right hand drive example of the upgraded model built the model was discontinued in August 2009.

Renault velSatis, Silverstone,

It is believed around 1000 examples of the velSatis were imported into the UK, the 3.5 litre / 213 cui V6 powered example seen in these photographs taken at Silverstone a few years ago was registered on the 18th of November 2003.

Thanks for joining me on this “Velocity and Satisfaction” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Wagon Wednesday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Minivan Pillarless Coupé – Renault Avantime

They say fortune favours the brave, unfortunately the brave fall over every once in a while before they find success if they survive long enough at all.

Renault Avantime_6277sc

Just as Matra had gone out on a limb in 1977 to bring the public the Minivan sized SUV Simca / Talbot Ranchero I looked at last week a concept which Matra later evolved into the Renault Espace minivan in the 1980’s, in 1999 Matra showed a car for a new post minivan market segment which envisaged former minivan customers who’s kids had fled the coop who wanted something minivan sized for the superior view, but with only two doors and 140mph GT performance.

Renault Avantime_6278sc

Patrick le Quément was responsible for the styling, which was loosely based on the upmarket Renault Vel Satis, that featured lots of heat reflecting glass to afford a panoramic view, the complete absence of any B-pillar and double hinged doors that take up less road space than smaller conventional doors when open for ease of entry and egress.

Renault Avantime_6279sc

Initially the Avantime was to be powered by the 3 litre / 183 cui 24 valve 207hp Renault V6, later options included a 2 litre / 122 cui turbo and diesel variants.

Renault Avantime_6280sc

Children were not expected to be carried but the rear features two separate full size seats, instead of the regular bench seat, that are mounted higher than the front seats offering what Renault called “theater seating”.

Renault Avantime_6283sc

The Avantime certainly broke the coupé mold with it’s minivan size, fantastic all round vision and futuristic styling but….

Renault Avantime_6281sc

… it had no competition except from genuine coupés that were smaller, more agile and less quirky to look at, meaning only 8,557 examples were built from 2001 to 2003 and of those only 450 were imported into the UK, much to the disappointment of Matra who called time on their car manufacturing aspirations.

Renault Avantime_6282sc

In light of the vast fleets of highly polished sports minivan sized Chelsea tractors with only one or two occupants one sees flying up and down Britain’s motorways Renault might perhaps have been better aiming the Avantime as an alternative to sports utility vehicle segment.

The Avantime seen in these photographs earlier this year in Ware, Herts is a 3 litre / 183 cui V6 powered model with the 5 speed automatic transmission, it was first registered in the UK on the 2nd of September 2002.

Thanks for joining me on this “Minivan Pillarless Coupé” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Wagon Wednesday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !