Avantime '02

History

The Renault Avantime is a grand-touring coupé combining features of a 2+2 coupé and an MPV — marketed by the French manufacturer Renault, designed and manufactured by Matra, between 2001 and 2003. The Avantime was a one-box
design without B-pillars — styled by Patrick Le Quément.

The name combines the French word "Avant" (meaning "ahead") and the English word "time", with the latter using the English (tīm) rather than French pronunciation (tēm).

The Avantime was designed and developed in-house by Renault affiliate Matra and was conceived by Philippe Guédon, head of the automotive division at Matra, who "believed that the children of Espace owners remained loyal to the
car even after they had grown up and left home. As a result, the renowned MPV was gaining a generation of new drivers."

Styled by Patrick Le Quément, the Avantime was intended to combine the space of an MPV with four-place pillarless qualities of a coupé. Regarding the styling, Thierry Metroz, design project manager, said, "We wanted someone
walking around the car to be continually astonished."

The one-box design eliminated B-pillars and featured an aluminium structure, aluminium panels for the greenhouse and a full sunroof of strengthened heat-reflecting glass. The interior featured four seats each with built-in
seatbelts and Bridge of Weir leather. To facilitate access to the rear seats, two long doors featured a double parallel-opening hinge system (marketed as "double-kinematic") that maximized access with minimal outswing of the
doors. Front side windows lowered automatically when either of the front seats folded forward to further facilitate entry to the rear two seats. Windows featured power-deployable sunshades, and the H-points of the rear two
seats were higher than the forward two seats, giving the Avantime "theater seating." The luggage compartment featured a retaining system using retractable straps, and all Avantimes featured a two-tone look created by the exposed
aluminium of the greenhouse. The windows and panoramic sunroof could open automatically via a single, headliner mounted control, to give the Avantime an 'open air' mode.

The design borrowed the automotive space frame of the first generation Renault Espace (load bearing galvanized structure with non-load bearing composite panels) utilizing Renault's 24 valve, 207 hp (152 kW) 3.0L V6 engine, which
was coupled to a 6-speed transmission.

The Avantime was first shown in 1999 in concept form at the Geneva Auto Show — where it was called a "Coupéspace" — and went into production two years later, after the subsequent engineering of the pillarless roof to meet safety
standards.

The Avantime's sales were poor. The car's fortunes were not helped by the introduction of the Renault Vel Satis (another large, upmarket Renault) around the same time. When Matra decided to pull out of the
automotive production business in 2003 (partly as a result of the financial loss incurred by the poor sales of the Avantime), Renault chose to discontinue the Avantime rather than move its production elsewhere.
8,557 were built from 2001 to 2003.

In 2008, the Avantime was featured on the British motoring show Top Gear, where the presenters modified the performance of a used Avantime, attempting to lap the test track faster than an Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. The
Avantime was recognized as one of the few cars that all three presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May liked (along with Ford Mondeo and Subaru Legacy).

In 2002, Automobile Magazine said "Le Quement is clearly an outside-the-box thinker, and the product of his vision is a fascinating exercise, but American buyers' utilitarian expectations of the one-box shape just don't jibe
with the decadence and frivolity of a grand-touring coupe."

 

GT5 Specs

 

Country
Production
Start
End
Cost
US$
Body Style
2 DR
4 DR
Hatch
Wagon
SUV
Seats #
Engine
Type
Displacement (cc)
Power (HP)
Matrix Power (HP)
Best
Stock
Stealth
Max
Torque
LB/FT
Stock
Stealth
Max
PowerPoints
Default
Minimum
Maximum
Stock
Stealth
Weight
Min
Max
Aspiration
Stock
Supercharger
Turbo
Drivetrain
FF
FR
MR
RR
AWD