11 March 2008

Enter the dragonfly

Renault Megane Coupe concept makes gullwing doors a thing of the past

Renault Megane Coupe concept

Gullwing doors? They're so passé, darling. This season's must-have ingress/egress accessories are... dragon-fly doors, as debuted on the Renault Megane Coupe concept at the Geneva motor show.

Instead of the oh-so-conventional upward-hinging one-piece doors, the Megane concept gets seriously trick two-piecers. The lower panel and the upper window section split apart, as the door opens in a movement as graceful, says Renault, as a dragonfly in flight. Ahhh.

The concept previews the styling of the next-generation Megane, due to arrive towards the end of this year.

It looks to be a move away from the angular, big-arsed profile of the current hatch - which Renault boss Carlos Ghosn reckons is too brash a design for a mass-market model - and towards sleeker, smoother lines.

Indeed, Renault's design director Patrick le Quement said in Geneva that the concept's styling was '80 per cent representative' of the new Megane. Here's hoping. And here's hoping it ends up with a bit more wow-factor than the new Laguna. Any wow-factor, in fact.

A bit of wow under the bonnet wouldn't go amiss, either. The concept is powered by a curiously conservative two-litre turbo petrol engine, developing 197bhp and 206lb ft of torque. It'll see the Megane to 62mph in just over seven seconds - sprightly, but with such high-concept looks, we were rather hoping for a solar-bio-uranium V8 with zero emissions and sub five-second performance.

Maybe the tech department used up their budget developing those doors, though. But why stop at two-piece portals? Why not three-piece? Four-piece? Actually, why not go with these nifty disappearing fellas?

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