This page has been created to add all the new content I am adding to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the launch of the Renault Avantime Concept car at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show. I will be adding new content throughout February and March. Scroll down to see what has been added so far!
Development of the Avantime started in 1997 when Renault announced to Matra their plans to move construction of the next Espace model in-house to save money and use extra capacity they had in their own factories. By 1999 the production model had been designed, but to generate interest in the model it was decided to create a special ‘show car' or ‘concept' version. Concepts are usually developed either to push the technological or design capabilities of a team, without the constraints of a production model (like costs or regulations), or to test public reaction to a new design or style. The Avantime Concept, codenamed Z66, was a bit of both. It generated interest and hype around a completely new style of car which was going to launched, but also allowed the designers to build an ‘ultimate' Avantime.
The biggest changes from the as yet unseen production model were inside, most notably with the 4 large seats - just 2 in the back rather than a bench seat. The switchgear, steering wheel and navigation system were also very different. The boot (trunk) had an under-floor storage compartment as well as being accessible between the rear seats. Rather than a twin sunroof as on the production model, the showcar featured a full length single piece fixed glass roof, add this to smaller pillars (no safety constraints!) alongside a non-tinted rear screen and the interior was even lighter than the production model.
Externally the most notable differences were the stylised exhaust, lack of bumper strip along the doors with flush door handles (giving a more sleek appearance) and massive 20" Alloy wheels. Smaller details such as the wing mirrors and headlights were also changed. Click on the ‘Concept/Showcar' gallery below to see the inside and outside of the car.
Concept to Reality Promotional Booklet
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Here is an extract of a documentary on Renault Concept Cars - just move the slider to the beginning to watch the whole video.