Although not set for its public debut until the 2010 Paris Auto Show in October, Renault has just taken the wraps off of its new bright red DeZir Concept. Pronounced “desire” and directly referencing Renault’s zero-emission “Z.E.” signature, this electric-powered highly aerodynami two-seater coupe concept car is the first to display the automaker’s nascent “Drive the Change” styling language that was created by its new design chief, Laurens van den Acker.
This mystifying concept centres on “bonds that are gradually forged between the brand and its customers at watershed moments of their lives, such as when they fall in love, begin to explore the world, start a family, begin work, take time out to play and gain wisdom.”
In addition to its various mechanical innovations, Renault says the DeZir’s new front-end identity “explores Renault’s styling roots to express the company’s powerful human dimension” using the notion of the ‘life cycle’,” and presages cues destined to be incorporated into all future models.
The DeZir’s sleek and light Kevlar bodywork wraps around a tubular steel frame that helps keep curb weight to a mere 830kg (1,830 lb). Access to the coupe’s futuristic cabin is by gullwing doors that pivot in opposite directions, a flourish that “symbolizes a ying and yang-style amorous harmony,” albeit one we suspect won’t be found on any future production variant.
Renault says the linear styling of the front air intake and the rear-end treatment not only add visual impact but help to more efficiently channel battery-cooling air from the front to the rear of the car. Adding even more interest is an array of “ripple-effect look” graphic accent panels.
Particularly striking are the cross-drilled aluminum bands that dominate its flanks. Impressively complementing that overall flair — and nicely filling the DeZir’s prominently arched fenderwells — are 21-inch alloy wheels wrapped in custom 235/45 Michelin tires.
According to Renault, its design study, which is claimed to hint at future directions the firm might take, would be powered by an electric motor capable of producing 150hp, enough to whisk the startling creation from 0-62mph in five seconds and on to a top speed of 112mph, while the batteries are good for a range of around 100 miles.
Inside, the Renault DeZir intentionally gives new meaning to the term “passion pit,” as its designers freely admit that its inspiration came “directly from the idea of an amorous encounter based on a coming together of opposites.”
To formalize “the sensation of shared passion and lightness,” its organically contoured white leather bench seat melds a number of interlocking design elements to create a pattern that’s smooth on the driver’s side but quilted on the passenger’s segment.
While Renault indicates that the DeZir is not destined for production in its current form, it will be interesting to see exactly how many of its specific design elements ultimately do make their way into future products from the French automaker.
“DeZir is a statement of our new formal design language which conveys notions such as movement, sensuality and emotion through ideal proportions, in much the same way as an object whose forms have been honed by nature,” says Axel Breun, Renault’s Director of Concept Car and Show Car Design.
Yann Jarsalle, in charge of exterior styling, says: “By directly laying out volumes and not just joining together a number of surfaces by lines, I felt more in tune with the world of sculpture than with that of architecture.” We know, we know.[Renault via World Car Fans and Auto Car (UK)]