Renault cars

In what is apparently becoming an annual celebration of their partnership with the French National Rugby Team, Renault has once again released a special edition line of their Clio and Megane vehicles, which they’ve been calling the "XV de France" Editions.

We already showed you what last year’s models looked like, so now we’re here to give you a peak of what to expect for the 2011 version of the these special edition Renault compact vehicles.

For this year, both limited edition models have become special ’versions’ of the Clio and the Megane, which you can avail off with out the limited time basis attached to its predecessors.

“The 2011 ‘XV de France’ versions are very different from the limited editions of previous years," said Raphaelle Jarry, the Renault Megane’s product manager.

For this particular version of the Megane and Clio, customers can avail of the former through a number of styles, including estate, hatch or coupe body form. As for the latter, customers have a choice of getting it as a 3-door, 5-door, or estate.

Details after the jump

Renault has unveiled a new Monaco GP package at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. This package is available for the Megane Coupe and Megane RS models. The new models will be offered in a limited edition with only 14 countries scheduled to receive it. The Monaco GP edition can be ordered in elegance, sport, and style versions, priced from €27,300 ($37,742 at the current rates).

The Monaco GP package was first offered in 2010 for the Laguna Coupe model and featured the same black and white color scheme as found on the new Megane Monaco GP. The pearlescent white paint was developed specially for these models. Other features include the Etoilé black body components (including the side mirrors, rear diffuser, and fog-lamp surrounds), black headlight masks, and "Monaco GP" badge work on the sides. The interior also gets a pearlescent white cabin, Monaco GP" stitching on the seats, a numbered plate, and "Monaco GP" protective mats.

Updated 03/01/2011: This review has been updated with new images, details, and official prices.

Hit the jump to read more about the Renault Megane Monaco GP.

After the Twingo and Clio have received the Renault Sport transformation, the Wind Gordini has made its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

Like with the other two models, the new Wind Gordini will be distinguished by a Malta blue bodywork with two white stripes, and Glacier white door mirrors, grille trim, and rear wing. A glossy black roof is also added to refine the look the car, as do the 17" black diamond alloy wheels and "G" badge.

The interior also gets special “Gordini” black and blue leather upholstery, blue and white door straps, a blue leather steering wheel with white stripes at the top, a gear lever with a leather gaiter, and a metal knob with the Gordini name.

Everything under the hood of the Renault Wind will remain the same which isn’t a bit surprising considering the Gordini line is limited to exterior and interior updates for the other models as well.

Hit the jump to read more about the Renault Wind Gordini.

The Lotus-Renault team became the fourth Formula One team to present their 2011 race cars to the media. The R31, as it’s being called, was presented at the pit lane of the Valencia race track ahead of its first pre-season test session that’s been scheduled for next Tuesday at the same circuit.

In addition to the presentation of the black-and-gold R31, Lotus-Renault also presented their 2011 driver line-up, featuring Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov. Together with technical director James Allison, team principal Eric Boullier, and chairman Gerard Lopez, Kubica and Petrov personally pulled the covers off of the R31, marking the return to partnership of two companies - Lotus and Renault - that last worked together in the 80s.

“Words like ‘aggressive’ and ‘innovative’ are very much in vogue in Formula One at the moment, but where the R31 is concerned we feel those adjectives are appropriate,” Allison said.

“It’s true to say that the car has been designed in an ambitious manner and a quick glance at the layout will confirm that its entire concept differs considerably, not just from last year’s car, but from any car this team has ever produced.”

Details on the Lotus Renault R31 after the jump.

The shares from the Renault F1 team, which is partially owned by Genii Capital, have been sold to Group Lotus just in time for the 2011 season. This will mean that for this next season, the team will be renamed "Lotus Renault GP." The partnership has been formed for the next seven years, making sure that we will see them in Formula 1 until at least 2017.

Their new car, the Lotus Renault GP F1, will incorporate new technologies from F1 cars into Lotus road cars including hybrid technology, Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS), aero advancements, and lightweight materials. The benefits of Genii’s part-ownership will be the availability of non-F1 technologies such as lightweight braking systems, variable compression engine technology, and on board software systems.

Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said: "I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1. We’re well aware that there has been a lot of controversy around the usage of our brand in F1 and I’m delighted to be able to formally clarify our position: We are Lotus, and we are back."

Press release after the jump.

The Renault Megane is spawning yet another special edition, one that is sure to please upstart rally drivers all over the world. The new off-spring Mega Mega ne, which is being called the RS N4, is a Group N tarmac rally package that is being released to cater to the needs of trainers and private rally aces alike.

For this particular car, Renault outfitted it with a boost in the output of the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that it comes in. From the standard version’s 250 horsepower and 340 Nm of torque output, Renault gave the RS N4 a 20-horsepower boost to 270 ponies with 470 Nm of torque on it.

In addition to the engine upgrade, the sports hatch also gets a “Cup” suspension upgrade courtesy of the partnership Renault established with suspension maven Ohlins from Sweden. Renault also installed bigger brake discs on the car in the form of 335mm discs and four-piston Brembo calipers on the front and 290mm versions over in the rear. Rounding out the RS N4’s performance package is a new interior that features a race-ready roll bar as well as Sabelt racing seats with a six-point harness.

All told, the Megane RS N4 looks to be a pretty good car to get your feet wet in the world rally racing.

The Renault Megane RS is a car that’s on the cusp of being considered one of the best sports hatches in the world. Depending on some people’s preferences, the car might even be placed on the top of the proverbial heap.

Aftermarket tuning firms have all taken stabs at modifying the Megane RS not only because it’s ripe to be tuned, but also because the sports hatch is one of the most popular Renault models in recent times. Having said that, the folks from Dutch tuning specialist, E-Motion, put their collective talents to good use by building a package for the Megane RS, one that sees improvements on the car across the board.

The Dutch aftermarket tuning firm had some help from its compatriot, Kerkhof & Visscher, in building up the Megane RS’s engine, boosting up its power by 60 ponies and giving up much more bite than the standard variant. At the end of the day, this is what all tuning firms aim to accomplish: to turn fast and powerful into faster and more powerful.

Mission accomplished for E-Motions.

Details after the jump.

Alain Prost, widely regarded as one of the fiercest Formula One drivers in history and the most heated rival of the late, great Ayrton Senna, is still hacking up race tracks in France these days, albeit on a much different terrain. The former Formula One Driver’s Champion’s competitive racing juices are now on full display at the Andros Trophy racing series, the national Ice Racing championship of France.

Last year, Prost raced behind the wheel of a Dacia Duster Ice Racer and proceeded to show everybody that despite his age, he still managed to finish runner-up for the season, trailing only two-time Andros champion Jean-Philippe Dayraut on-board his Fabia Skoda MKII.

This season, which is scheduled to begin on December 4th, Prost is looking to break through with his first Andros championship, and to help him achieve his goal, he’s got a brand new Dacia Duster Ice Racer waiting to be unleashed all over the icy terrains of France.

The new Duster Ice Racer underwent some engine and performance upgrades from last year’s model, giving Prost an even bigger chance to break the Skoda’s two-year stranglehold on the championship.
For one thing, the 55-year old racer is determined to prove that second place won’t be good enough this time around. “Last season, we were aware it would be tough to win the Trophée Andros with a new car, not to mention the fact that the program began at a relatively late stage” he said.

“This time round, my intention is to challenge for the title. We completed two very positive days of testing at Val Thorens last weekend. Our work on Duster has clearly paid dividends and we are convinced we have the means to make a strong start."

Head over past the jump to find out details about Prost’s new Duster Ice Racer.

Europe’s answer to SEMA – the Essen Motor Show – is coming up later this week and we’re already gearing up for what looks to be an eventful week in Germany as some of the world’s finest automakers troop to the event to show off their latest aftermarket creations.

One such brand that we already know is attending is Renault as they’ve announced one vehicle that will be displayed at the Essen show room floor: a tuning proposal for the Twingo-based Renault Wind courtesy of tuning company Elia.

We don’t have the full details on the vehicle, but we’ve scraped up enough information to know a few things about it.

For one, the car will either come with a 1.2-liter turbo engine or a 1.6-liter variant that will produce an output of 100 and 133 horsepower, respectively. The folks over at Elia are at work producing a performance package that will likely come in the form of an upgraded sport suspension and ECU unit that will see an increased output of 16 horsepower and 28Nm of torque.

Aesthetically speaking, Elia will also be adding LED daytime running lights and 18” allow wheels with two sets of tires being included in the front and rear – 205/35 up front and 235/30 at the back.

For now, that’s all the information we have, but as soon as more information becomes available, we’ll be sure to update you not just on this tuned-up cutie, but on all the vehicles that will be at Essen for Europe’s largest aftermarket tuning event.

Renault is offering its European customers a special edition Koleos developed in cooperation with Bose. It will be placed between the Luxe and Dynamique versions and will be distinguished by a few exterior changes. A sound system was also designed taking into account the ’specific acoustics of the French crossover.

The Koleos Bose exterior is distinguished by tinted windows, a specific badge on the front side panels and sill aluminum, a satin grille, and Austral alloy 18’ wheels. It will be offered in four exterior colors: White Pastel, Black Moonlight, Black Metallic and Grey Wash. The interior gets upholstery in mixed leather/fabric and molded dash trim, shiny black paint, leather steering wheel and gear lever, front seats with table built on the backs, Bluetooth hands-free kit, multifunction center console and dual-zone automatic climate control.

The Renault Koleos is equipped as standard with Bose TOM TOM navigator, cruise control, rear parking assist, the "Easy Access System" for opening and keyless start, and the audio connection box. The new Bose system features: a Twiddler (speaker for mid-high frequencies) at the center of the dashboard, two tweeters of 3.5 cm at the sides of the bridge, four speakers in each front door and the rear woofer.

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