Renault Clio III GT 2009

December 17th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Static and driving shots of the Renault Clio III GT

Renault Koleos

December 16th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham
Renault Koleos moderate off-road driving

Renault Koleos moderate off-road driving

Renault Laguna GT

December 16th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham
Driving footage

Driving footage

Renault unveils Twingo Gordini R.S.

November 26th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Renault Twingo Gordini fq

A few weeks back, Renault announced plans to revive the classic Gordini badge for new high performance offerings and now, the first model has been unveiled. Using Renault’s smallest platform, the Twingo Gordini R.S. should prove fairly rapid, with a 133hp 1.6-litre engine to turn its fancy 17 inch front wheels, along with an uprated suspension package and brakes.

Outside, the Twingo is coated in the historic blue hue that once adorned French racing cars in the days before corporate sponsorship dominated, and buyers can also opt for pearlescent black instead of the white accents. Renault is displaying the car at its “Christmas in Blue” exhibit in Paris through the holiday season and deliveries will begin next March. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet.

Renault bringing back Gordini Performance

November 13th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Renault Gordini teaser

French carmaker Renault has recently announced it will restore the iconic Gordini Performance nameplate and launch a line of Gordini-badged models next year.

Named after Renault racing engineer extraordinaire Amedee Gordini, the Gordini badge became a symbol of success for the French automaker. The R8 Gordini dominated rallying in the mid-Sixties and gave birth to its own one-model series with the Renault 1300 Gordini. Now, over forty years later, Renault is bringing the name back for an exclusive new line of hot hatches.

Positioned above the existing Renaultsport lineup, the Gordini range will be mechanically identical to its RS counterparts, but distinguish themselves with retro styling touches (like French racing blue paint scheme with white stripes) and an extra dose of exclusivity. The first product in the new range, the Twingo Gordini RS, is slated to be unveiled at L’Atelier Renault — the company’s flagship store on the Champs Elysees in Paris — on November 25 before its market launch next spring. Gordini edition Clio and Megane are slated to follow suite, all decked out in the sub-brand’s signature French racing blue with white racing stripes.

Renault Twingo V8 Trophy is an extreme supermini (+video)

October 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Lazereth Renault Twingo V8 fq

French tuners Lazareth Auto Moto have really gone to town in the creation of a unique Renault Twingo. Inspired by the competition Renault Megane Trophy and the Clio V6 Renault Sport, the car features a big ole 3.5-litre Range Rover V8 pumping out 147kW (200hp). The block doesn’t sit under the bonnet but behind the front seats where rear passengers once sat. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual gearbox.

Lazareth has kitted the car out with 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped up with Yokohama tyres, wider front and rear tracks, a massive rear diffuser and matt grey exterior paint. The suspension was modified and brakes upgraded.

Interior upgrades include Momo alcantara bucket seats and a sports steering wheel. A centrally-mounted Translogic digital display shows speed, revs per minute, a shift light, lap times and other information.

Check out a short video of the Lazareth Twingo Trophy V8 below and if you’re interested in getting one be ready to stump up €70,000 (NZ$142,500).

Renault planning three new electric vehicles

June 22nd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Renault be bop fq

This September’s Frankfurt Motor Show will be the venue for the unveiling of three new electric vehicles from Renault, including a concept that previews an all new model. The concept is predicted to be put on the same dedicated platform created from Renault’s alliance with Nissan, set to underpin its new EV debuting at the Tokyo Motor Show and going on sale next year. Renault development chief Christian Steyer has said that the EVs will benefit from distinctive styling to set them apart from the rest of the automaker’s lineup.

In addition to the three new EVs, Renault will apparently be showing off both fast charging technology and battery swapping equipment, along with electric conversions of existing Megane and Kangoo models.

China pulls a reversal and bans Renault car imports for safety concerns

June 11th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Renault Megane 250 fq

In an odd role reversal of the status quo, China has announced the halt of import of four Renault models on the back of ‘serious safety risks’ and non-compliance with regulations.

The Renault models affected include the Laguna, Scenic, Megane and Megane Coupe-Cabriolet – what are Renault’s most successful global models. The decision was reached by the lengthy-named General Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

“W]e have repeatedly found batches of passenger vehicles made by the French Renault … do not conform with our country’s mandatory standards and relevant technical regulations, and there are serious safety risks,” AQSIQ said in a statement.

The Chinese government’s decision is strange to say the least particularly when Chinese made vehicles like the Brillance BS4 have very little in the way of genuine safety. The BS4 recently scored zero stars in Euro NCAP testing. In contrast, the Renault Megane, Megane CC, Laguna and Scenic all achieved 5 stars in EuroNCAP testing.

The fact is that China is now the largest car market in the world and the banning of these Renault models will hurt the French manufacturer. In some opinions this is the first step in China trying to protect their domestic carmakers against the strong competition coming from Europe.

Renault hasn’t yet issued a formal response, with a spokesman saying only that the company was ‘surprised’ by the decision, and that it has plenty of evidence of the quality of its models in the form of independent press reviews and testing.