RENAULT – PIONEER SPIRIT AT THE 2013 GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED

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This year’s

Goodwood Festival of Speed

sees Renault following its substantial 2012 appearance with a celebration of its highly successful, 36-year long commitment to Formula 1, a tribute to the Alpine’s successful motorsport record and the showcasing of an exciting array of new road cars, including two new concept models. The event will be held from 12th to 14th July in the grounds of Goodwood House, 60 miles south of London.

  • Renault’s pioneer spirit is amply demonstrated by landmark vehicles from its sporting 115-year history, including the 1978 RS01 that was the first turbo F1 car, the sensational 1978 Le Mans-winning  Alpine A442B, the 1977 Groupe 5 Alpine A310 rally car that is running for the first time since 1977, the enormous and extraordinary-looking 1926 Renault 40CV ‘des records’, a 1902 Renault Type K that was one of the world’s earliest racing cars, and the dramatic Renault 5 Maxi Turbo of 1984.
  • Making their UK debut at Goodwood, and guaranteed to draw crowds, will be two new sports concept cars, Twin’Run and the 100% electric, Twizy Renaultsport F1.
  • In 36 years of Formula 1, Renault engines have won 11 constructor’s championships.  At Goodwood, Renault will showcase the four examples of Renault RS27-powered F1 cars from the 2013 championship, including the race-winning Lotus E21, the Red Bull RB9, the Caterham CT03 and the Williams FW35, as well as an array of exciting new road cars. These include the much-anticipated Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC, the handsome new Renault Captur crossover and the stylish 100% electric Renault ZOE.
  • Senior executives and famous drivers will be at Goodwood and available for interview, including Stephen Norman (Senior Vice President, Global Marketing), Axel Breun (Head of Concept Car Design), Patrice Ratti (Managing Director, Renaultsport Technologies), Bernard Ollivier (CEO, Alpine Caterham), Jean-Pascal Dauce (Engineering Director, Alpine Caterham), Rob White (Deputy Managing Director Renaultsport F1), Jean-Michel Jalinier (President, Renaultsport F1), legendary four times F1-championship winner Alain Prost and Monte Carlo rally winner Jean Ragnotti.

 

Goodwood: Racing through time and a country house garden

Renault has long been an enthusiastic participant in the Goodwood Festival of Speed, appearing on six consecutive occasions from 2001 to 2006, before making a comeback in 2012 after a five-year break. The company’s 2013 appearance coincides with the 20th anniversary of this now world-famous and much-loved event, and promises to be one of the most eye-catching yet.

Held in the grounds of Goodwood House, an elegant and historic country residence nestling amid England’s picturesque South Downs, the Festival provides the startling sight of racing cars charging through its bucolic grounds, the house’s driveway turned into a dramatic, challenging and rather beautiful hillclimb venue.

Racing cars and Goodwood have been synonymous for decades, the first motorsport event occurring in 1936 when the ninth Duke of Richmond organised a hillclimb through the house’s grounds. World War 2 brought this pursuit to a close, but also saw the construction of a nearby airfield whose perimeter road would eventually be turned into the famous Goodwood circuit. The first race was held in 1948 and the last in 1966, and when the Charles Gordon-Lennox, the current Earl of March and a major car enthusiast was prevented from reviving races at the circuit, he decided to stage his own Festival of speed in the grounds of Goodwood House. The first event attracted 30,000 visitors, and it now draws 180,000, many considering it the finest motoring event in Britain.

Besides the hillclimb there is also a concours d’elegance, a pavilion of concept cars and technical exhibits of the future, an air display, events for younger visitors and much more. A highlight of the event remains the paddock, where fans can stand mere inches from some of the most famous racing cars in history and better still, meet their drivers.

Images: Renault Goodwood Festival of Speed

Two exciting Renault concepts make their UK debut at Goodwood

Renault Twin’Run Twin’Run previews Renault’s next city car and, with a mid-mounted 320hp V6, pays homage to the legendary mid-engined R5 Turbo and Clio V6. “Twin’Run is a cocktail of energy, passion and athleticism, rekindling the memory of emblematic Renault racing cars,” says Laurens van den Acker, Senior Vice President, Corporate Design at the Renault group. “Following its twin, Twin’Z, a stylish urban concept car, Twin’Run shows that personalisation is a core strategy at Renault.”

Although the appealingly compact, subtly curvaceous lines of Renault’s next city car are pleasingly apparent, the sizeable rear wing hung from the trailing edge of Twin’Run’s roof is an unmissable clue to this concept’s motorsport mission. Beneath the blue bodywork lies a tubular steel spaceframe structure, while the bodywork is fabricated from a glass-polyester composite, carbonfibre deployed for the front blade, the roof, wheel arches and the rear vent. This strong, weight-efficient structure houses a tuned version of the 3.5-litre V6 used in the Espace and Latitude, as well as the Mégane Trophy Racer. It drives a six-speed sequential transmission with a limited slip differential and a competition-sourced twin clutch, an arrangement that in combination with the car’s 47:53 percent weight distribution ensures dramatically effective traction away from the line and through hard-charged corners.

‘Twin’Run embodies the mad genius Renault has been known for over the decades, to the delight of motor sports enthusiasts. No one has forgotten the R5 Turbo and the Clio V6. Twin’Run is the true heir of those racing cars that had so much appeal,’ says Axel Breun, Head of Concept Car Design. The R5 Turbo is the reason for the same digit appearing as the Twin’Run’s racing number, the concept’s headlights also referencing the famous 5’s, as do the quartet of spotlamps that echo the distinctive light-racks deployed by the original R5 Turbo. A huge front air intake, Renault’s new diamond-dominated nose, a set of exceptionally stylish wheels and some unusually shaped red stripes provide an artful contrast to the Twin’Run’s blue paintwork to produce a decidedly engaging look.

Twin’Run’s race V6 pushes out a hefty 320hp at 6800rpm, 380Nm at 4850rpm and makes a great sound producing it, which visitors to Goodwood will be able to enjoy for themselves when this concept makes its roaring assault on the hill.

Renault Twizy Renaultsport F1 An entertaining blend of the cute, tandem two-seat electric Twizy – Europe’s best-selling EV – and Formula 1 hardware, the Twizy Renaultsport F1 not only looks the part but has the technology to go with it. Besides a spectacular, track-inspired look that includes slick tyres, a front splitter, sidepods, a rear wing and an F1-style red rain light, this Twizy features a complete Formula 1 Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) capable of an instant, six-fold energy boost to produce almost 100hp. And with the Twizy’s low weight, that is enough to propel it to 62mph in the same time as a Mégane Renaultsport 265.

This technological gem is the inspired product of a collaboration between Renaultsport engineers and their colleagues at Renaultsport F1 and besides producing a smile, showcases Renault’s expertise in Formula I electric technology, particularly in the KERS field. The system is designed to recapture some of the kinetic energy lost under braking. Rather being lost in the form of heat, this energy is stored before being used to momentarily boost the total available power, exactly as it does for a Grand Prix car. This boost is available for up to 13 seconds, at which point the Twizy’s electric motor will be revving at 10,000rpm, while the KERS unit can rev as high as 36,000rpm. The challenge of connecting the two units is achieved via 1:3.6 reducer gear which uses the same drive gear as the Renault V8 F1 engine. And to prevent the KERS battery from overheating, it’s equipped with water cooling. Other eye-catching features of the Twizy Renaultsport F1 include an adapted F1 steering wheel, a data-logging system and the KERS hardware itself, which is visible through a transparent panel.

‘When Renaultsport F1 asked us to work on the project, our engineers didn’t hesitate,’ says Renault Sport General Manager Patrice Ratti. ‘Renault Sport Technologies had already made a significant contribution to the design and development of the highly innovative Renault Twizy which meant that our input was perfectly natural.  Thanks to our experience of race car engineering, we were able to take elements from our Formula Renault 2.0 and 3.5 race cars and also check that the rigidity of Twizy’s chassis and suspension was capable of handling the additional 60kW.  We enjoy a very close working relationship with Renaultsport F1 and we were able to combine the ‘fun’ side of the project with some very advanced technology. We are very proud of the result.’

And this rapid and highly entertaining electric Twizy will be seen startling onlookers with its sci-fi sound enthusiasm on the Goodwood hill.

High Performance Renault Hill-Runners

Renault is fielding a spectacular array of race and rally cars to attack the Goodwood hill, these cars spanning more than a century and propulsion systems ranging from Renault’s championship-leading V8 F1 engines to the KERS-assisted electric motor of the Twizy Renaultsport F1.

Here are the runners:

2013 Red Bull RB9 Renault RS27 Formula 1 car The championship-leading car for much of this year’s season, the Renault-powered RB9 is one of a handful of F1 cars to have won Grands Prix this season, all of them with world champion Sebastian Vettel at the wheel. Team-mate Mark Webber has also put in some strong performances. The Renault RS27 engine of this highly competitive, Adrian Newey-designed car develops over 750bhp from a 2.4 litre, 32-valve V8. Spectators will be able to witness the full force of this when the Red Bull takes a shrieking run up the hill, it’s appearance sure to be one of the star attractions over the festival weekend.

2013 Caterham Formula 1 car The Caterham team is now in its third season and has been on an upward mission most of this year, the car getting faster and the team more effective, even if the results don’t always reflect this. Drivers Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde are now benefitting from new and updated components for the strikingly-liveried, Renault RS27-engined CT03 which will be running up the Goodwood hill over the Festival weekend.

2013 Lotus E21 Formula 1 car Lotus has so far been a major challenger during the 2013 season, lead driver and former world champion Kimi Raikkonen winning the opening race and scoring three second places in a row during the early part of the season. Lotus are highly placed in the constructors standings with their E21, with every possibility of climbing higher. The E21’s Renault RS27 engine develops over 750bhp, weighs only 95kg and forms a major structural element of the car. Festival visitors can get a fleeting impression of the effects of this spectacular power-to-weight ratio when the Lotus races up the Goodwood House driveway over the Festival weekend.

2013 Williams FW35 Formula 1 car Williams is third most successful team on the Formula One grid, and has enjoyed many victories – and championships – with Renault in the past. There was little change in the rules surrounding the construction of Grand Prix cars for 2013, so the FW35 is very much an evolution of last season’s FW34. Nevertheless, over 80percent of the parts in the car are new. And though it is not currently a frontrunner, the car and its talented young drive Valtteri Bottas seeing glory qualifying with a second row qualification for the grid at the Canadian Grand Prix.

The FW35 will also be running at Goodwood.

1983 Renault RE40 Formula 1 car The RE40 was Renault’s first Formula One car to use a carbonfibre tub, this lightweight material and sizeable wings intended to counter the banning of ground-effect aerodynamics for the 1983 season. The RE40’s cause was further aided by Renault’s now long-running 1.5 litre turbo engine, which was by now running twin blowers to achieve a spectacular 880bhp. The turbos were still an occasional source of trouble, unreliability preventing Alain Prost from securing the championship that year in the season’s final race. But the RE40 scored four wins from 14 races, and three pole positions and three fastest laps, too. It’s still searing performance can be witnessed over the Festival weekend.

1984 Renault R5 Maxi Turbo By the mid ‘70s the sun had finally set on the Alpine A110’s glittering rally career, Renault’s rival Lancia dominating the scene with its mid-engined Stratos. Renault’s surprising answer to this Ferrari-powered supercar was an urban supermini, its hugely successful Five chosen as the unlikely basis for small, light and ferociously fast new mid-engined weapon. The idea was to move its engine from the front to the middle of the car to improve its traction and handling. The result was a rather strange looking Five, its rear wings distended by swollen wheel arches, its rear seats sacrificed to a box housing a highly tuned, turbocharged 1.4 litre engine of 162bhp. The Rally Championship rules required that this weirdly appealing little car enter production, in the process creating one of Renault’s many legendary performance machines and a highly collectible car today. The Renault Five Maxi Turbo scored its maiden win on the 1981 Monte Carlo rally, and remained a potent force until the all-wheel drive Group B cars arrived. The Maxi Turbo’s extraordinary proportions, and power, can be seen in action over the Festival weekend.

1978 Renault RS01 Formula 1 car ‘Yellow Teapot’ doesn’t sound a very promising name for Formula One car, this unflattering nickname earned during its debut at the 1977 British Grand Prix where it suffered the first of many steamy retirements amid jokes from the opposition. But this was Formula One’s first turbocharged car, the teams allowed to use either 3.0 litre normally aspirated engines, or 1.5 litre turbo motors. Renault alone took the turbo option, and though development of this complex engine was often troubled, the rightness of its decision began to emerge with a fourth place at Watkins Glen in the US in 1978. A year later, the RS01 scored pole and lead the Kyalami GP in South Africa. The RS01 was replaced by the RS10, which scored the engine’s maiden victory and triggered Formula One’s dramatic turbo era. The Yellow Teapot will ride again over the Festival weekend, with several turbo-boosted bursts up the hill.

1978 Alpine A442B Le Mans car Renault contested the legendary Le Mans 24 hour race three times with the dramatic Alpine A442B, Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jassaud winning the event on the car’s third outing in 1978. Powered by a turbocharged 2.0 litre, the Alpine’s powertrain signalled the dramatic stories to come when Renault departed sports car racing for Formula One after this impressive victory. The A442B looks as dramatic now as it did on its victorious day, and has lately inspired Alpine’s fresh attempt on France’s most famous race. You’ll be able to get an idea why when it charges up the Goodwood hill over the Festival weekend.

1977 Alpine A310 Groupe B The striking Alpine A310 succeeded the legendary A110, updating the high-performance rear-engined coupe concept with pretty, sharp-edged styling, the addition of rear seats and more civility. Early cars had 1.6 litre fours, the A319 later gaining the 2.7 litre PRV V6. In this form it was developed as a Groupe B rally car, in 1977 winning the French Rally championship against far more powerful opposition. This relatively rare machine will be performing over the Festival weekend for the first time since its retirement in 1977.

1926 Renault 40CV Type NM des records This spectacular car – its long, deep bonnet occupied almost half of its length – sat at the pinnacle of the Renault range in the 1920s and took part in many of the speed trials. In 1926 the ultimate version of this 9.0 litre car was developed for speed trials, complete with single seat, streamlined coupe bodywork, exposed wheels and a 14-strong crew trained in the art of refuelling it. It covered 50 miles at 118.1mph, and went on to achieve a 24-hour average of 107.9mph – big speeds for a production-based car of the day. And you’ll be able get a flavour of its achievement when it surges up the Goodwood hill.

1902 Renault Type K

The Type K brought Renault its first international racing victory in 1902. The company entered three cars in the Paris to Vienna race, although few thought they had much chance of winning against several far more powerful cars. But the Type K’s low weight was a real asset on the races hilly roads, and brought Marcel Renault victory, covering 807 miles at an average speed of 38.8mph. The Type K will be tackling a hill once again over the weekend when it motors up the Goodwood House drive.

2013 Renault Twin’Run concept car

2013 Renault Twizy Renaultsport F1

On static display

1993 Williams Renault FW15C ex-Prost This car remains one of the most technically advanced Formula One cars ever made, because rule changes subsequently barring electronic driver aids. Active suspension, ABS anti-lock brakes, and traction control all featured, although the fundamental competitiveness of this car also contributed to its spectacular tally of 10 wins from 16 races. Drivers Alain Prost and Damon Hill enjoyed the power of Renault’s 760bhp-plus 3.5 litre V10, which won Prost the driver’s championship and Williams the constructors’ title.

1993 Renault Clio Williams The Clio Williams was one of Renault’s most desired cars when the first Festival of Speed took place 20 years ago and it remains as desirable today, having rapidly established itself as a hot hatch legend when it was launched in May 1993. Its name was inspired by the Renault-powered Williams F1 team, and the link was not inappropriate, the Clio scooting to 62mph in a still impressive 7.9 seconds. It was powered by a specially developed 150hp 2.0 litre 16-valve engine and featured many bespoke parts, most famously a set of gold alloy wheels.

2013 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC Renault’s hot hatches are legendary for delivering an exceptional mix of power, handling and driver entertainment, and the latest Clio Renaultsport maintains the tradition. Its exceptional 200hp power output, a race-style paddle-shift transmission and a highly developed Renaultsport chassis provide an exhilarating driving experience.

2013 Renault Mégane Renaultsport Red Bull Racing RB8 The shapely Mégane Renaultsport remains one of the benchmark hot hatches in its class, having developed an outstanding reputation for handling, grip, performance and driver feedback. Its 2.0 litre turbocharged engine produces a spectacular 265hp, a mechanical limited slip and Renault’s ingenious PerfoHub suspension geometry allowing this prodigious power to be fed to the road with a minimum of torque-steer. Making its UK debut is the Red Bull Racing version limited to just 30 examples for the UK.

2012 Red Bull RB8 The Red Bull RB8 was the championship-winning car of the 2012 Formula One season, collecting not only the Constructors’ title for Red Bull but the drivers’ title for Sebastian Vettel. Powered by Renault’s 2.4 litre V8 RS27 engine – as used this season – it saw five victories at the hands of Vettel and two for team-mate Mark Webber. And it won Autosport’s race car of the year title, too.

2013 Renault ZOE The elegantly stylish ZOE is unusual for being a purpose-built electric car, allowing it to be perfectly optimised for practical zero-emission performance. This five-door, five-seat car delivers effortlessly restful, near silent performance, excellent acceleration, a very convenient range and a clever charging system allowing rapid recharges of the battery pack. It also comes with a sophisticated navigation system and Bluetooth as standard. Zero emissions and ultra-low running costs are just some of the advantages of this charming and highly sophisticated car.

2013 Renault Captur Spacious, versatile and satisfyingly distinctive, the exciting new Captur is a refreshingly novel take on the modern compact car. Sporty looks, a high seating position and the scope to extensively customize the Captur’s look complement advanced engines offering up to 76.4mpg, while sophisticated touchscreen technology makes this car a pleasure to occupy. The Captur crossover combines the style and seating position of an SUV with the versatility of an MPV and the fun-to-drive character of a small hatchback, a three-in-one combination that makes it a highly desirable choice.

1924 Renault Type MH ‘Pioneer Spirit’ 6-wheeler This extraordinary machine was built for overland travel deep into Africa during the 1920s. Conceived to connect Algeria and French West Africa, areas not yet linked by rail, the six-wheeled MH was designed to travel across Saharan sand without sinking. In fact, it was actually a 12-wheeler, each axle carrying four wheels to spread the Renault’s weight. In 1923 it completed its first mission, reaching Tozeur in Tunisia from Touggourt in Algeria in two days, but a journey the following year was more spectacular still, the MH travelling from southern Algeria to Cape Town, covering 23,000 kilometres and crossing 35 rivers.

In the Cartier Style et Luxe

1933 Reinastella A huge, luxury car, the 7.1 straight eight Reinastella was built to compete with Rolls-Royce, Packard, LaSalle, Daimler and other blue-blood cars. The original version was 5.3 metres long and weighed 2.5 tons, and was good for 87mph. The Reinastella became a popular symbol of wealth in France, examples of the car appearing in two of Herge’s Tintin stories. The high percentage of aluminium used in its construction meant that many were scrapped for the materials during WW2, making survivors a rare sight today.

On the cricket pitch (land record cars)

1956 Renault Etoile Filante ‘Etoile Filante’ sounds romantic and it is, being French for shooting star. And that was a very appropriate name for Renault’s 1956 land speed record contender, this pretty single seater powered by a 270bhp gas turbine engine that revved to 28,000rpm. Enclosed wheels and low-slung bodywork were the result of experimentation in a wind tunnel, the car dispatched to the Utah Salt Flats in 1956 for an attempt on a gas turbine land speed record. Which it secured with a 191mph run. The Etoile Filante was restored by Renault in the mid 1990s, when it was able to move under its own power for the first time since 1956.

Renault Attendees at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed Former Formula One racing drive Alain Prost, who won championships at the wheel of Renault-powered Williams, and a variety of senior Renault management will be attending the Festival of Speed, and are available for interview. They include:

Axel Breun – Head of Concept Car Design Jean-Pascal Dauce – Engineering Director, Alpine Alain Prost Patrice Ratti – Managing Director, Renaultsport Technologies Stephen Norman – Senior Vice President, Global Marketing Bernard Ollivier, CEO, Alpine Caterham Rob White, Deputy Managing Director, Renaultsport F1 Jean-Michel Jalinier, President, Renaultsport F1

RENAULT – 115 years of history, underpinned with a unique commitment and passion for Motor Sport

Renault has raced for almost as long as the company has been alive.In 1902 a Renault Type K won its first victory in the Paris-to-Vienna road race, propelled by a four cylinder engine producing slightly more than 40 horsepower. It beat the more powerful Mercedes and Panhard racers because they broke down, proving very early on that to finish first, first you have to finish. In the same year Renault patented the turbocharger, something it had not forgotten when in 1977 it was the first manufacturer to race a turbocharged Formula One car. The RS01 was initially nicknamed the ‘Yellow Teapot’ by amused rival teams, but intensive development eventually saw it scoring fourth place in the 1978 US Grand Prix, and a pole position the following year. Within three years of the Yellow Teapot’s arrival most rival teams were also using turbochargers.

Although today’s Renault RS27-2013 engine is a normally aspirated V8, as required by the regulations, from 2014 it will be replaced by a highly advanced, downsized 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 featuring a pair of powerful energy recuperation systems that feed twin electric motors. These include an Energy Recovery System (ERS-K) that harvests Kinetic energy, and a second Energy Recovery System (ERS-H) that captures Heat. The aim is to deliver the same power as the 2013 V8 engine delivers using a V6 turbo and twin electric motors, to use 40percent less fuel.

Developing competitive power outputs while using less fuel is precisely the goal Renault is striving for in the road car world, the 2014 F1 rules perfectly matching a powertrain strategy founded on the company’s unrivalled commitment to electric motors, coupled to the intensive development of the internal combustion engine . The aim? Spectacular fuel consumption, and major CO2 efficiency gains. A drop of fuel means as much on the track as it does on the road, and Renault’s expertise lies in extracting the maximum energy from it.

And this is why Renault participates in the most competitive motorsport arena in the world. What it learns from engine development feeds directly into its road car programmes, both by adopting F1 technologies and by moving its engineers between the two disciplines. It’s a highly successful strategy that has not only yielded 11 titles, 152 victories, 202 pole positions and 283 podiums during the company’s current 36-year participation in F1, but also a long and impressive run of Renault road cars that sit at the forefront of automotive technology. And reliability too, what Renault has learnt from developing an F1 engine that revs to 18,000rpm regularly for lap-after-lap, transferring directly to its production engines.

Advanced engine technology not only produces highly efficient performance, but also road cars that make an exciting drive. Every Renault with an Energy engine comes with the thrilling power delivery of a turbocharger, and has been engineered by men and women with a genuine passion for cars. The same engineers work in the disciplines of both the race and road cars worlds, and they don’t forget what they know of one when they’re working in the other. Which is why a strong vein of motorsport DNA courses through the heart of every Renault, be it a classic Alpine A310, a Renault 5GT Turbo or today’s latest Clio and Captur.

Excitement on the track means excitement on the road

Renault will showcase no less than three major new models at Goodwood this summer, including the much-anticipated Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC, the stylish new Captur compact crossover and the revolutionary electric ZOE. Not only that, but there will also be two previously unseen, performance-oriented concepts on show, one of which will be 100% electric.

Plenty of Goodwood Festival-goers will make a beeline for the latest Clio Renaultsport, this hot hatch enjoying a legendary reputation for out-handling exotic machinery costing vastly more. The latest version – now 36kg lighter for an all-up weight of only 1204kg  – sprints to 62mph in a spectacular 6.7 seconds and will spear 143mph. A 200hp, direct-injection 1.6 turbo engine produces the power behind this performance via a new six-speed, paddle-shift, dual-clutch transmission, which is supplied with a fat 240Nm torque that streams unabated from 1650-5500rpm. Three driving modes – two of them reducing throttle lag and raising the idle speed – trick hydraulic compression control shock absorbers that blend a supple ride with extraordinary body control, an R.S. diff and a Launch Control system ensure that this latest Renaultsport Clio will be even more exciting than its illustrious predecessors. And yes, there’s an optional, keenly priced Cup chassis option too.

Capturing eyes

Just as eye-catching is the Renault Captur, a new and particularly stylish supermini crossover that combines the high-set seating of an off-roader with the space and versatility of a small MPV, and the handy manoeuvrability of a small hatchback besides. An athletic stance that positions the wheels sportily close to the bodywork, doors shaped to prevent shoes and clothes from getting muddy when you step in and a colourful, high quality interior finish underline the attention to detail that characterizes this car. Handy features include optional unzippable seat covers, a sliding rear seat, a multi-position boot floor, and Renault’s new R-link infotainment system.

Like the Clio, the Captur features turbocharged Energy engines, including a TCe 90 petrol and dCi 90 diesel. This is also a car that you can personalise. Two-tone paint schemes, exterior graphics, light and dark interior trim themes and optional highlights in grey, ivory, chrome, orange, green or blue give the interior an appealingly distinctive character, as do décor packs that coordinate with the optional exterior graphics.

Like the new Clio and the ZOE, the Captur is a striking car, and Renault’s chief designer Laurens Van Den Acker will be appearing at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed to explain his already widely admired design strategy for the marque.

Electric Style

Just as distinctive as the Captur is Renault’s stylish new ZOE, an electric car that promises to attract new buyers to this growing segment. With prices starting at only £13,650 after the government’s subsidy, the ZOE is the most affordable, purpose-designed electric car on the market. It also has the biggest range, which is officially homologated at 130 miles, and has also been awarded the full NCAP five stars for occupant protection. A five-door hatchback of particularly appealing lines, the ZOE debuts no less than six ‘world premiere’ features and carries 60 patents, all of them aimed at enhancing its range, user-friendliness and connectivity.

A 65kW (88hp) electric engine provides the ZOE with particularly strong low-speed acceleration thanks to its instant 220Nm of torque, while its top speed is limited to 84mph. Recharging takes between 30 minutes and nine hours using Renault’s patented Chameleon charger, which is compatible with both the fast-charging stations that provide a fast 30 minute charge, and a domestic overnight supply.

ZOE is available in three trims levels called Expression, Dynamique Zen and Dynamique Intens, all three including the Range OptimiZEr package that provides regenerative braking, a heat pump and Michelin Energy E-V tyres, all three features contributing to the 130 mile NEDC range that, in real world use, would be typically around 90 miles in temperate conditions. Battery pack rental costs from just £70 a month, and in combination with the low cost of the energy required to charge, makes the ZOE very cheap to run.  Renault has become the first car manufacturer to offer a free domestic charging point with a new electric car purchase.  The free Single Wall-box, supplied and installed by Renault’s preferred electric vehicle charging partner, British Gas, is supplied and installed free of charge to ZOE customers.

R-Link super-connectivity

Apart from their style, a common feature to the Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC, the Captur and the ZOE is Renault’s innovative and hugely useful new R-Link infotainment system, which provides an impressive level of connectivity for the drivers of these cars. This multi-media tablet is also available in the new Clio hatchback and the new Kangoo van range too. Either fitted as standard or available for a very reasonable £450, this impressive and attractive tool is designed to appeal to those with an interest in new technologies, and equally, to be useful and easily understood for those that aren’t.

A key aim behind its design has been to avoid the need to use a small pile of portable devices to make phone calls or listen to music while on the move. So R-Link provides Bluetooth telephony, navigation, a radio, music streaming and connectivity to music devices, as well as connection to a series of vehicle-related services. Customers can tailor R-Link to suit their particular needs by subscribing to a variety of services – including TomTomLive – and downloading as many as 50 apps. The system itself is controlled by a clear and intuitive touchscreen, a set of steering wheel-mounted controls and a series of voice commands to ensure that the driver’s eyes remain on the road. R-Link is one of the most advanced and attractive infotainment systems on the market, and one of the most affordable too.

Some of its more unusual features include an app allowing you to compare the prices of the nearest 10 fuel stations, an Eco-coaching programme, a Yellow Pages search and when the car is stationary, the ability to tweet or play Sudoku. And for drivers of electrically-propelled Renaults, it helps you optimize your range, route and battery charge, and can guide you to the nearest charging station using TomTom Z.E. Live navigation.

Clean Energy

Leading-edge technology of a different kind is to be found under the bonnets of a variety of Renaults featuring the latest Energy engines, which harness technology developed on track, on road and in the laboratory. Renault has now launched its ninth engine in the Energy series with the Energy TCe 130, which replaces the 1.4 TCe 130 engine, to be available from April in the New Mégane, the New Scenic and the New Grand Scenic.

This down-sized, direct injection, variably valve-timed 1.2 litre turbo yields an impressive 130hp at 5000rpm and 205Nm of peak torque from a low 2000rpm, to produce performance equivalent to a normally aspirated 2.0 litre. More than that, it generates fuel savings of between 15 and 20 percent depending on it application. A lively, smooth and eager drive, it also features a fuel-saving stop-start system and in the Mégane hatchback, achieves a combined consumption figure of 52.3mpg, and CO2 emissions of just 124g/km.

Like all the Energy engines, the TCe 130 features thermal management systems, a variable displacement oil pump, a turbocharger, diamond-like low friction coatings for the cam followers and graphite coatings for the piston skirts, as with Renault’s F1 engines. There has been plenty of emphasis on refinement too, noise reduced by up to 50 percent compared to the power units these Energy engines replace. An overarching goal of the Energy engine programme is to reduce Renault’s range CO2 emission, and by the end of 2013 this average is expected to fall below 120g/km – an impressive result.

Alpine relaunch to scale new heights It’s 40 years since the Alpine A110 sports car won the Monte Carlo rally, and you can see one of these compact, low-slung and strikingly beautiful coupes on Renault’s main Goodwood stand. Renault is relaunching the famous marque with an ambitious programme that will see the launch of an all-new model co-developed with British sports car maker Caterham in 2016, as well as an exciting motorsport programme, kicking off this year, that includes contesting the Le Mans 24 hour race – which Alpine won outright in 1978 – and the European Le Mans (ELM) race series. Alpine has contested the Le Man 24 hour race no less than 11 times between 1963 and 1978, fielding a total of 55 cars over the period with class wins and victories in the Energy Index and Performance Index categories on several occasions.

Alpine’s rebirth has already got off to an excellent start, an A110 winning the Monte Carlo Classic rally earlier this year.  One of the five-car team was an A110 co-driven by Renault COO Carlos Tavares and Jean-Pascal Dauce. For the return to Le Mans Alpine has joined forces with Signatech, which will enter an Alpine LMP2 chassis powered by a 500bhp Nissan engine for the five rounds of the ELM series.

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