Unveiled in Milan, the Renault Twin’Z sub-light hatchback stretches just 3.628 metres – 28mm further than the current, six-year-old Twingo – and has a rear-mounted 50kW electric motor sending drive only to the back wheels. It weighs 980kg, and gets lithium ion battery packs under the floor to provide a 160km driving range on a single charge.
The Twin’Z Concept was penned by Renault chief designer Laurens van den Acker, who says he was inspired by the first-generation Twingo and Renault 5 landmark supermini. It was then embellished by renowned British industrial designer Ross Lovegrove, who was tasked to add styling elements to the bodywork using inspiration from modern furniture design.
Renault says the rear-drive architecture meant wheels could be pushed out to each corner, and along with the high waistline, helped to create taut, squat proportions. The B-pillar-less body, and electrically-opening ‘suicide’ doors of the concept car also help to maximise interior space, according to the brand.
All-LED lighting permits different ‘patterns’ to be projected, with the headlights “using the minimum number of lines to communicate a positive, alert expression”. The smaller, circular daytime running lights “form a structure of strips redolent of an iris”, designed to contribute to the front end’s “near-humanlike gaze”.
The 18-inch wheels and tyres have been designed as a whole, with the ‘branches’ of the bright green-finished wheels continuing into the sidewall pattern of the Michelin tyres.
Satin-finished blue livery is said to pay homage to 20
century French painter Yves Klein.
Renault says the Twin’Z is its fifth concept car to result from a design strategy founded on the notion of the human lifecycle. The Twin’Z represents the notion of ‘play’.
“Renault’s design strategy takes its inspiration from the human life cycle, focusing on notions such as ‘Love’, ‘Exploration’, ‘the family’, ‘Work’ and now ‘Play’,” commented van den Acker.
“And what better way to express the idea of ‘Play’ than by entering the enchanting world in which Ross’s thoughtful, beautiful and intelligently styled work comes to life.
“Twin’Z provided us with the ideal opportunity to place the process of automotive design under a different light, a process which straddles the boundary between the world of the automobile and that of furniture.”
The Twin’Z sub-light hatchback follows the DeZir sports car concept (said to represent ‘love’), the Captur compact SUV (centred around the theme ‘exploration’), the R-Space mini MPV (inspired by ‘family’) and the Frendzy small van (based around the concept of ‘work’).
The sixth concept of the collection, dubbed ‘wisdom’, is yet to debut, but is expected to be a concept previewing the next generation Renault Laguna.
At the Paris motor show in September 2012, Laurens van den Acker said the company would harmonise its design philosophy between Korean-built Samsung-based products like the Renault Latitude seen in Australia, with the Euro-designed Latitude. He confirmed that only the Laguna would survive into its next generation, signalling an end to the short-lived Latitude and a possible return of Laguna to Australia.
Renault Australia is yet to comment about the chances of the production Renault Twingo being imported here.