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The Renault Espace will return. Time to build a new Espace F1

The original MPV name is making a comeback, so fill it with an Alpine F1 car’s V6

Published: 24 Jan 2023
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What was internally referred to as an ‘unidentified driving object’ would later be externally referred to by a very different moniker. “It sounds gentle and pleasant and immediately brings on board comfort and technology to mind,” explains Renault’s model naming boss Sylvia dos Santos.

The ‘UDO’ would turn into the ‘Espace’, Renault’s game-changing multi-purpose vehicle first unveiled in 1983. Today, we learned Renault intends on bringing the name most closely associated with MPVs back, in the badge’s 40th anniversary year.

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“The Espace name rapidly stood out as the obvious choice for the sixth-generation of Renault’s new five- and seven-seater SUV,” said Renault. With the car being unveiled later in 2023 there’s little technical info at this stage, outside of the fact it’ll sit on the “Alliance’s CMF-CD platform”. That underpins a variety of Renault cars including the Austral.

Though, there was a version of the Renault Espace that used a very different platform; one that wasn’t so gentle and pleasant and absolutely did not immediately bring on board comfort to mind. In 1995, Renault unveiled the Espace F1 – a mid-engined V10 MPV that used the motor from Alain Prost’s championship winning FW15C.

Astonishingly, that 3.5-litre, naturally-aspirated ten-pot kicked out 789bhp and 520lb ft of torque, matched to a six-speed semi-automatic gearbox and rear-wheel-drive. Renault claimed it go see off 0-60mph in 2.8s – a sprint that’d see off pretty much any modern HyperThing you care to mention – and 0-120mph in 6.9s. Flat out, it could hit 194mph. The rear part of the Espace F1’s chassis was lifted straight out of the Williams F1 car, the body was made out of carbon fibre, and the whole thing weighed just 1,300kg.

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So with confirmation that a sixth-generation Espace will appear, and Alpine looking handy in F1, isn’t it time we got a new generation F1-engined MPV? Turbo hybrid V6, lots of power, space for a family. That’d certainly be classified as an ‘unidentified driving object’.

New Renault Espace badge

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