The five-door car may not be as bizarre as the radical Avantime, but it is still unconventional - especially in the conservative premium car class, where Renault concedes that its attempts to outgun the Germans with the Safrane failed.
As Thierry Dombreval, Renault senior vice-president strategy and marketing said: 'We must appeal to demanding customers who expect the fundamental qualities of these models to be beyond reproach.
'To achieve legitimacy at this level of the range, we are embracing these standards: quality, performance, comfort, safety and resale value.'
Consequently, the Vel Satis represents a French vision of an executive car — luxury with a distinct Gallic flavour.
This equates to a driver seat height closer to the Espace than the Safrane, a spacious, futuristic and nicely finished cabin that is set off in top of the range models by light leather seats and wood marquetry in the doors.
An example of its styling idiosyncracy is offered by the double-hinged front seat backs that are six inches higher on the outside than inside.
The Vel Satis goes on sale across Europe during the early part of next year and the Avantime will hit European roads from this month.