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2016 Renault Mégane GT

2016 Renault Mégane GT

It could be said that Renault invented the hot hatch. The Renault 5 Alpine did debut a few months before the Volkswagen Golf GTI, and even if VW’s offering is currently more popular worldwide, Renault has always offered some strong contenders for the European market. The latest, which was just unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show, is the Megane GT. It’s not the fire breathing monster that Renault’s RS hatchbacks are, but it is closely related while making some compromises in the name of practicality and usability, not to mention price.

Renault’s hot hatches have only at times directly competed with VW’s, usually being just different enough from the GTI that it wouldn’t be too diffiuclt a decision to pick one over the other. That is very much not the case with the new Megane GT, which is aimed squarely at the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, and indeed the whole Megane line is of late more of a direct competitor to VW. Renault has always done hatchbacks extremely well, but it’s difficult to ignore the fact that VW has a big share of the hatchback market, especially the hot hatch market, and Renault seems to be gunning to take that away.

Updated 09/23/2015: We’ve added a series of new photos we took at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Find them in the "Pictures" tab.

Continue reading to learn more about the Renault Mégane GT.

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2016 Renault Mégane

2016 Renault Mégane

Compared to other hatchbacks in the industry today, the Renault Mégane can be considered a neophyte, having only been around since 1995. In fact, if Renault hadn’t thought of developing a model to succeed the popular Renault 19, the Mégane probably wouldn’t exist today. Yet here we are, 20 years and four generations later, the all-new 2016 Mégane has arrived, ushering in a new era for the steadily improving hatchback.

The fourth-generation Mégane made its debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. It shares the same mid-sized car platform as the 2015 Nissan Pulsar, but unlike its rather mundane-looking cousin, the new Mégane looks about as sharp as any hatchback in the market today. That’s largely attributed to the car receiving Renault’s new design DNA, a characteristic it shares with the 2016 Renault Talisman, the French automaker’s equally exquisite new mid-size luxury sedan. Gone are the days when the mere sight of the Mégane lulled people to sleep. No one’s going to have that problem with the Mégane because this is the Mégane we’ve all been waiting for.

Now that it’s here, the Mégane’s future looks brighter than it’s ever been in the last 20 years. If the hatchback rides as good as it looks, there’s no telling what heights this model can reach, especially when the RS versions come roaring into our lives down the road.

Updated 09/22/2015: We’ve added a series of new photos we took at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Find them in the "Pictures" tab.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Renault Mégane.

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2015 Renault Alaskan Concept

2015 Renault Alaskan Concept

Renault, of all automakers, has just released a new midsize pickup truck concept called the Alaskan. This marks the first time Renault has targeted the upmarket scene with a pickup and is slated to preview a production pickup that will be a global player. What’s more, this could very well be the first real glimpse of what the 2020 Mercedes-Benz new global pickup could look like.

Wait, Mercedes? Yep Mercedes. Don’t forget Renault and Nissan have their global alliance together and Mercedes has already announced it will build its first pickup in conjunction with Nissan. What makes this rumor even more plausible is just how similar the Alaskan Concept looks to the first Mercedes rendering of its pickup. The speculation is a stretch, for sure, but the possibility is there nonetheless. (Be sure to check out the photo comparison below.)

Regardless of the Mercedes tie-in, Renault’s newest concept shows off a more luxurious side to the brand’s bustling commercial truck lineup. The automaker stresses its new pickup is for “business and leisure use, plus everyday motoring.” This is a big departure from Renault’s more utilitarian workhorses that populate its commercial fleet.

The Alaskan concept is only a concept, but Renault says the Alaskan is a direct foretaste of a production-ready pickup. The yet-unnamed pickup will fight for sales in nearly every global market save for North America – that is, unless its underpinnings cross the pond via Mercedes or as the next-generation Nissan Frontier.

Continue reading to learn more about the Renault Alaskan Concept.

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2016 Renault Talisman Estate

2016 Renault Talisman Estate

Any carmaker wishing to sell wagons (or “estates” as they are generally known across the pond) in Europe is going to have to think long and hard about how to take on the Volkswagen Auto Group. Between the VW brand handling mainstream markets and Audi offering a number of premium options, VAG is a huge market force in this segment. It might not seem so bad to look at it, plenty of carmakers sell wagons in Europe, but Renault must be feeling the pressure because there has never been a car more clearly designed to take on the Passat Estate then the new Renault Talisman Estate.

The new Talisman, in both Saloon and Estate forms, has such a German look to it that you might mistake it for a 2017 Volkswagen Passat at a glance. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; the Laguna, which the Talisman replaces, had a noticeable amount of that characteristically French weirdness to it and divisive styling isn’t always the best way to sell a lot of cars. Some will see this as the French automaker losing a bit of its charm, but it’s difficult to deny that the Talisman is an attractive vehicle.

Updated 09/22/2015: We’ve added a series of new photos we took at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Find them in the "Pictures" tab.

Continue reading for my full review of the Talisman Estate.

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2014 Renault Initiale Paris Concept

2014 Renault Initiale Paris Concept

In addition to the outrageous concepts and world premieres that have debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show, a number of models who are generously described as concepts yet look more like production previews are also in attendance.

One of these models comes courtesy of French automaker Renault. Specifically, the model is called the Initiale Paris Concept and it’s being touted as a preview model for the automaker’s resident people-carrier, the Espace.

While we’re disappointed that it’s not a preview of its future sports car, the Alpine, the Initiale Paris Concept does look like a very worthy step forward for the normally mundane Espace. Renault’s current styling direction is pretty evident on the concept, specifically the headlight details, the low-slung plexiglass roof, the sleek side styling and of particular note to us, the honeycomb intakes just below the integrated bumper.

The design is also in line with Renault’s recent proclamation that the Espace will look less like a minivan and more like a crossover, something that should appeal to its overall makeup.

Click past the jump to read about the Renault Espace

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2014 Renault Megane RS 265

2014 Renault Megane RS 265

Renault unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show the new family of Megane models, topping the lineup with the high-performance version: the Renault Sport 265. The model received an updated exterior look that includes a new hood and headlights, plus some elements inspired F1 technology.

If you remember, a special edition Megane RS 265 Trophy smashed the Nurburgring record for front-wheel-drive cars back in 2011, and it was to expected for the new Megane R.S. to pay tribute to that model. From the Trophy model this new Megane R.S. borrows a few design elements, like the 19-inches wheels wrapped in the same Bridgestone high-performance tires used to set the world record.

The model comes equipped with limited-slip differential, front suspension with an independent steering axis and a chassis offered in two configurations — Sport or Cup — allowing the driver to enjoy it at its full potential.

Click past the jump to read more about the Renault Megane R.S. 265

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2014 Spark-Renault SRT 01E Formula E Race Car

2014 Spark-Renault SRT 01E Formula E Race Car

"Next year will be a landmark year in the history of motorsports racing."

We’ve heard that sentence uttered far too many times each year and more often than not, we attribute it to nothing more than hyperbole.

But 2014 will be a landmark year in the history of motorsports racing with the introduction of the FIA Formula-E Championship, a one-make, single-seat racing series that will be competed by electrically powered race cars.

In time for its highly anticipated debut, Spark Racing Technology is using the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show to introduce the Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E race car.

The race car is expected be one of the most prominent racers in the series. It looks like any modern single-seat race car, but other than its aesthetics, a whole load of features about the Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E race car distinguishes itself from the likes of those Formula One racers.

For one, the SRT_01E will be build using a Dallara-designed monocoque chassis made out of carbon fiber and aluminum. But more importantly - and something that will be unique to the race car - the SRT_01E will be powered by a McLaren-sourced electric engine that’s capable of producing up to 270 horsepower, although that output will only be limited to 180 horsepower during races. It’s not as powerful as those F1 cars, but what do you expect with an electric engine.

Despite the lack of horses, the SRT_01E is still expected to be really quick off the block, capable of hitting 60 mph in just 3 seconds to go with an FIA-limited top speed of 140 mph.

Updated 04/30/2014: Ho-Pin Tung – the first Chinese driver to ever test a Formula 1 car - was invited to drive the new SRT_01E and apparently he was very impressed. Check out the video to see for yourself.

Click past the jump to read more about Formula-E

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2011 Renault Frendzy

2011 Renault Frendzy

Renault has unveiled today the first details on the Frendzy concept car set to make its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September. It is a fully electric concept with an asymmetrically body, that features some of the most impressive innovations of the moment: BlackBerry® PlayBook™ controls 37-inch digital screen on sliding rear door, unique "sound signatures" inside and out, fabric roof adapts to shape of bulky objects, magnetic fixings allow loads to be secured to floor, slate board in rear cabin for children to sketch on, touch-sensitive pad slides out from driver’s seat for rear passenger movie watching or gaming, two color ambient lighting settings to differentiate family and work time.

The concept is powered by an electric motor that delivers a total of 60 HP and a peak torque of 166 lbs-ft and is mated to a direct drive tranmission with reverse. The concept can hit a top speed of 80 mph.

Laurens van den Acker, Senior Vice President, Design Renault: "Frendzy is the fourth vehicle to illustrate Renault’s new design strategy, a series which started with DeZir. It takes an original and innovative stance on the world of light commercial vehicles - a key part of Renault’s activities".

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2010 Renault Kangoo Z.E. Concept

2010 Renault Kangoo Z.E. Concept

The French automaker Renault has just unveiled the the Kangoo Z.E. Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the third of Renault’s four electric vehicles that accoding to the company will go into production by 2011, and the the Kangoo Z.E. Concept is the one intended for everyday use.

The concept is powered by a 70 kilowatt motor delivering a maximum of 226 Nm of torque. Power is derived from a lithium-ion battery, that with a full recharge have an autonomy of four to eight hours, while a 20-minute quick charge you can take a short trip around the house.

With a weight of only 1520 kilos, the Kangoo ZE can hit a top speed of 130 km/h.

Press release after the jump.

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2010 Renault Fluence Z.E. Concept

2010 Renault Fluence Z.E. Concept

Renault wants to prove that electric cars don’t have to be boring at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The automaker’s range of four electric concepts revealed today provide a preview of what we can expect from the French car builder to release starting in 2011.

The Fluence Z.E. Concept is a four-door electric sedan that can travel up to 160 kilometers on a single charge. Renault has incorporated a few interesting charging methods including a 20 minute recharge and the very fast 3 minute quick charge options that will allow you to travel from 4 to 8 hours depending on the power outlet’s voltage.

Fluence ZE Concept is powered exclusively by an electric motor located near the front axle that is powered by a lithium-ion battery positioned between the rear seats and the trunk. The concept rides on 21 inch wheels and the interior features video screens and a triple-zone climate control while LED lights on both the front and rear of the vehicle add to the concept’s Atmosphere Blue body color.

Press release after the jump.

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2008 Renault Kangoo Compact Concept

2008 Renault Kangoo Compact Concept

Renault takes the wraps off Kangoo Compact Concept at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. Kangoo Compact Concept sets the tone for the new, wider Kangoo line-up. It targets young, active town- and city-dwellers who are into sport and are looking for a compact car that matches their life-style. Its expressive, robust lines are emphasized by its special two-tone colour scheme that blends Fireball Orange and Brushed Aluminium. The cabin, which floods with light, is made to be shared with friends. Roomy and fun, Kangoo Compact Concept focuses firmly on the pursuit of leisure and this sporting life. Built around a roller-skating theme, the car was developed in partnership with Rollerblade, and inspired by the shared values of mobility, togetherness, and lust for life.

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2008 Renault Laguna Coupe

2008 Renault Laguna Coupe

Renault has chosen the Frankfurt Motor Show to unveil Renault Laguna Coupe Concept, its vision of a top-of-the-range grand tourer Coupe. Intended for the discerning motorist, who understands performance, driving pleasure, and refinement, Laguna Coupe Concept successfully marries high-tech with high cool. Underpinned by the Four-wheel Active Drive chassis, its boasts a brand new V6 dCi powertrain developed as part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

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2008 Renault Clio Estate

Renault will unveil in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show the Clio Estate, a model inspired by the Clio Grand Tour Concept, which was unveiled at the last Geneva Motor Show.

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