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Renault : AVANTIME "Coupéspace"

The concept car AVANTIME heralds the arrival of the "Coupéspace"

February 5, 1999 - As the dawn of the new millennium lights the sky ahead, Renault, in partnership with Matra Automobile, has opted to develop a coupé of ground-breaking design. This "Coupéspace", revealed in the lines of the AVANTIME concept car at the forthcoming Geneva Show, fuses the thrill and passion of a GT coupé with the unique quality of life on board a monospace. AVANTIME is the coupé for the 21st century, carrying within its genes an undiluted passion and urge for innovation so distinctly Renault.


The AVANTIME, Renault´s new Coupéspace Concept

Renault's driving force is its capacity for innovation. The triumvirate of Espace, Twingo and Scenic successfully teased out new market segments and won over new customers in the process. The Renault secret, behind the creation of such innovative new concepts, lies in its ability to anticipate changes in the marketplace and sense underlying social trends.

AVANTIME frontview

Such a degree of awareness enables the company to reflect shifting lifestyles and individual values in its innovative vehicle designs. Here is the very essence of its culture, the foundation of its corporate identity: a combination of intuitive reaction to changes in society, daring in the formulation of concepts and designs and warmth and friendliness in its approach to people.

AVANTIME, the new "Coupéspace" concept to be unveiled at the forthcoming Geneva Show, illustrates in a forthright manner Renault's ability to shape the future of the motor car. The manufacturer is convinced that there is room in the market for a new breed of coupé, targeted at a customer group seeking driving enjoyment plus versatility in a concept far removed from the family car.

AVANTIME's priority is to win over three main target groups:

- customers with a penchant for innovation, dynamism and the fast, sporty side of life; people who own a traditional coupé in France or a 4x4 or estate in Germany, on the look out for a roomier, more versatile model, but one with a strong personality.

- current or former owners of a monospace model, keen on the cabin space and the raised driving position, but wishing to stand out as a driver of a vehicle with more "fetching" looks, delivering an enhanced package of driving thrill and enjoyment.

- women looking for a more "feminine" style of vehicle, packing greater elegance and seduction, but still with agility and flair.

In such groups, AVANTIME will kindle the flames of driving passion and enjoyment, due principally to the power of its 24 valve, V6 engine, pumping out 250 bhp through a manual, 6-speed gearbox. The owner of a "Coupéspace" will rediscover the fundamentals of the true GT (performance, safety, dynamic handling and on-board comfort) but they will also cross the threshold of a novel style of driving thrill, courtesy of even greater cabin space, in-coming light and the ever-changing landscape unfolding beyond the vehicle's windows. Truly, an elegant way to stand out, to savour the pleasures of the motor car under a different light.


AVANTIME symbolises Renault's desire to take bold steps from a structural and design point of view at every level in the range, shunning the dominant, accepted thinking of the time. This quest to be different has already found clear expression in the INITIALE and VEL SATIS concept cars, both brimming with fresh ideas. AVANTIME, the fruit of a cooperative effort between Renault and Matra Automobile, goes one step further, being the precursor to the actual vehicle due to be launched in the Year 2000, alongside the Safrane and Espace.

A fusion of noble materials, plus purebred design, generous packaging and luminous interior drawn from its monospace inheritance, AVANTIME triggers a revolution in the ranks of the coupé. It ushers in a brand new concept of sporting GT, one embracing contemporary luxury and elegance but still retaining its functionality.

AVANTIME symbolises the power of innovation driving Renault ever forwards. The three core values of enthusiasm, intuition and daring that have merged to give birth to this "Coupéspace" constitute the very essence of the marque. This same cultural inheritance will yet again makes its mark in future models in the range, innovative in their design and body style and offering unique enjoyment in driving and life on board. A niche vehicle designed for customers looking for something different and out of the ordinary, AVANTIME is a prelude to Renault's ambitions at the top end of the range.

  • "Coupéspace": a new breed of GT coupé

Occupying the middle ground between coupé/estate and the monospace, AVANTIME achieves a fusion of hitherto incompatible features. It marries the good looks and prestige of the GT coupé with the raised, dominant driving position associated with the monospace. Drawing on the VEL SATIS' twin door body structure as well as its wide openings with their innovative mechanisms, AVANTIME offers easy access for all its occupants. Providing four plush seats, a powerful yet flexible engine and the latest in auto technology, AVANTIME invites you to travel in a degree of comfort and safety normally reserved for top-of-the-range saloons.

  • Design credentials drawn from the VEL SATIS

A worthy descendent of the VEL SATIS, AVANTIME is a coupé of non-traditional design exuding dynamism

and unabashed modernity. With its straight body lines and ridged pillars and waistline, AVANTIME sets out in contemporary format the shape of Renault's forthcoming models.

With its thrusting front end, packed with restrained aggression, AVANTIME espouses a dynamism underscored by its V-shaped headlamps and air-intakes. The vehicle's "forward motion" is accentuated by the VEL SATIS-inspired large, vertical, rounded rear window, shifted forward with respect to the luggage compartment. Its flush, large 20 inch wheels further serve to enhance the impression of latent power.

AVANTIME boasts an exceptional level of visibility and luminosity. The continuous line of windows and absence of side pillars presents a broad, seamless expanse of glass. This novel ratio of bodywork to window area is underscored by the two-tone effect created by the incorporation of aluminium into the rear pillars, cant rail and windscreen pillar, setting the vehicle's slender profile into sharp relief.

The panoramic glass roof further enhances the feeling of luminosity. Engendering, at the same time, a sense of unfettered freedom, it adds an extra dimension of pleasure to the journey at hand. With roof open and side windows fully retracted, AVANTIME brings the sky flooding in, unleashing the hedonistic delights of the cabriolet.

  • Inside: record levels of spaciousness, plus an elegant, discreet luxury that is unmistakably French

The concept of adding a coupé to a one-box foundation gives rise to features and characteristics hitherto unknown in the world of the traditional coupé. The spacious interior provides four real "armchairs" with built-in safety belts, plus an excellent level of in-car comfort, particularly for rear-seated passengers. Their freedom of movement into and out of the vehicle is facilitated in two ways: by the door's large angle of opening with its "2-step mechanism" and by the automatic lowering of the quarterlight linked to the folding forward of the front seat. The impression of space is far beyond that usually encountered in a 2+2 coupé.

The AVANTIME's rear portions incorporate a luggage compartment of innovative design and versatile function. A special section for small items of luggage has been designed beneath the loading sill. A further neat touch: the boot is fitted out with a luggage lashing system using retractable straps.

AVANTIME expresses most fluently the Renault philosophy. A subtle blend of "high tech" and "high touch", the interior's simplicity of line and quality of trim are a tempting invitation to travel and experience the combined enjoyment of driving and life on board. The combination of leather, aluminium and cloth, free of any hint of extravagance, embodies the elegant, discreet luxury that is so unmistakably French.

  • The very latest in engine design, plus high-tech equipment for greater safety and comfort

For this vehicle, Renault Sport has developed a high performance version of the 3 litre, 24 valve V6 engine already powering the Laguna and Espace, with its 6-speed manual gearbox. With equally powerful "green" credentials, this unit already meets Euro 2000 emission standards. Packing 250 bhp and torque in excess of 300Nm, AVANTIME could make a plausible case for admission to the race track, except its calling lies in another direction. Rather its forte is long journeys at the effortless speed associated with the Grand Touring tradition.

Just like the VEL SATIS, AVANTIME comes fitted with four large (245) PAX system tyres from Michelin. They allow the driver to journey on with a flat tyre, maintaining a speed of 80 kph over a distance of more than 200 km, in total safety.

Again, as on the VEL SATIS, the hands-free badge automatically unlocks doors and disengages the engine immobiliser as you approach the vehicle. The wide hinge and swing doors afford easy access to the cabin whilst still maintaining limited travel.

Blending perfectly with the AVANTIME's underlying philosophy, travel support in the form of the latest on-board telematics is also on offer. With a Pioneer DVD at its heart, the system provides those on board with guidance and navigation backed up with a multimedia array of tourist and cultural information. Travel, with AVANTIME in charge, takes on a whole new dimension.

To complement the above system, rear-seated passengers also have access to a portable DVD player which can be detached from the central rear console, plus two wide-format screens positioned in the backs of the front seats. With this arrangement, they can, if they wish, follow the same information as the front passengers, or take in a film with sound and picture quality worthy of the cinema.

The partners:

  • BERTRAND FAURE: seating

  • HACHETTE: tourist information

  • MICHELIN: tyres

  • PIONEER: DVD, video and audio system

  • SPEEDLINE: wheels

  • AVANTIME: Technical specifications


  • overall length: 4643mm

  • width, excluding door mirrors: 1884mm

  • height: 1600mm

  • wheelbase: 2752mm

  • front track: 1600mm

  • rear track: 1600mm

  • weight: 1750kg

  • front overhang: 1018mm

  • rear overhang: 872mm


  • Transverse 2946cc 24 valve V6

  • Maximum power: 250 bhp

  • Maximum torque: > 300Nm

  • Emission standard: Euro 2000

Gear box

  • 6-speed manual


  • 20" aluminium wheels

  • Michelin 245 width vertically anchored PAX tyres

Interior equipment

  • travel support system in the form of a Pioneer DVD unit

  • portable DVD player located in the centre of the rear console (two wide format screens in the back of the front seats)

  • individual air conditioning controls

  • retractable reading lamps for rear seats

  • access/exit functions for rear seats

  • luggage lashing system with retractable straps

  • special section for small items of luggage beneath luggage compartment floor

External equipment

  • vehicle roof entirely of glass

  • "twin mechanism" doors

  • magnetic badge for locking and unlocking the vehicle

  • headlamp covers with neon sidelights

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