The Avantime luxury coupe, which was debuted in the UK at last year's London Motor Show and shown at Fleet Show 2000, will not be launched for another 18 months, priced between £25,000 and £30,000. But at a special pre-launch press briefing Antony Grade, Renault's vice-president of car design programmes, said: 'We are in a period when we needed to do something different, something radical. To try and beat the likes of Audi with our own interpretation of an Audi is nothing. The only way we could win in the executive sector was on price.'
He said Renault only plans to build 50 Avantimes a day into a niche market, where total sales are predicted to be 15,000 units a year in Europe, 10% in the UK. 'There's a certain risk element, but at those volumes it would have been a bigger risk had we just built a big Vauxhall Vectra,' said Grade.
Avantime is the first in a line of models expected from Renault which will have transformed its range by 2003/04 and marks a return of the grand touring coupe. The car's 3.0-litre 24 valve, V6 will give 210bhp through a six-speed gearbox and a top speed of 140mph, combined with what Renault calls 'luxurious interior space and comfort'.
- To access the Avantime's own website click on the Buyers' guide menu button (left) and go to the Car manufacturers section. You'll find the Avantime on the Renault homepage.