March 26, 2012

Celebrating 10 years of Renault’s design classic - Avantime

Renault’s luxurious Avantime grand tourer coupe celebrates its 10th anniversary in the UK shortly, and to mark the occasion a special meeting is being held for owners and enthusiasts next month.

The super-luxurious Avantime – which translates from French to
‘ahead of time’ – was designed by Patrick le Quement and first went on sale in the UK on May 12, 2002. To commemorate the car’s latest milestone, the Avantime Owners Club will drive their iconic cars to the Transport Museum in Coventry on April 7 to chat about the Renault design classic, share stories and admire plenty of pristine examples of the eye-catching models on display.

Avantime excelled at the fundamentals expected of an executive coupe – comfort, style and performance – wrapped in a distinctive, innovative, attention-grabbing body, with design project manager Thierry Metroz admitting at the time "he wanted someone walking around the car to be continually astonished."

Just six months after its debut as a concept car at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show, the first production model of the Renault Avantime – which looked virtually identical to its concept – was unveiled at the 1999 Frankfurt and London motor shows, completely redefining the meaning of luxury coupe motoring for the future.

It is one of a few concept cars produced by a volume manufacturer that has gone straight into production within a year of first being seen by the general public, and redefined luxury travel and passenger safety at the time.

The combination of performance and driving enjoyment, the luxury of interior space and comfort, heightened by the panoramic glass roof and four windows which could all be lowered at the touch of a button – advanced on-board technology and a powerful engine put Avantime at the top of the wish list of anyone seeking to stand out from the crowd, see and be seen, in style and in comfort.

With its six-speed gearbox and a three-litre, V6 24-valve engine – producing 210 bhp and a top speed of 140 mph – it boasted smooth, swift power delivery for a unique form of long-distance travel.

Production only lasted 12 months due to Matra being unable to find a replacement model for Espace III production that was coming to a close leaving them with too much excess capacity. This has made Avantime, which was also available in a 2.0 Turbo in Dynamique guise and a 3.0 V6 automatic on the flagship Privilege version, something of a rarity on the roads and helped to build a cult following among current and past owners and enthusiasts of these iconic design classics.

The Avantime Owners Club 10th anniversary meeting takes place at the Coventry Motor Museum on Saturday, April 7, from 9.00 AM. Those who pre-register at will receive a souvenir pack to include a hardback copy of a book describing the work of Renault’s former Design Director, Patrick le Quement.


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