Next Renault Twingo previewed

* Concept car shows next-gen Twingo * Five doors, rear-engined, rear-drive * Fully electric version is likely...

Next Renault Twingo previewed

This is the next Renault Twingo, previewed as a concept car called the Z28 RL that's being unveiled today in Milan.

The Z28 RL is the result of co-operation between Renault's studios under the direction of styling chief Laurens van den Acker and British industrial design specialist Ross Lovegrove. It's 3623mm long, 1705mm wide and 1506mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2495mm. That makes it slightly longer, wider and taller than a Fiat 500, but shorter and narrower than a Vauxhall Adam.

The concept car's design cues including its front-end styling and its overall profile will be transferred to the next-generation Twingo. Renault is developing that car in conjunction with Daimler's Smart brand, which will use the same chassis for its next ForFour and (in shortened form) ForTwo.

That means the Z28 RL's layout of an engine mounted at the back and rear-wheel drive will be used on the production Twingo. Senior Renault sources have been saying for more than a year that the car would have 'an innovative layout solution'. Even the concept car's power source a fully electric motor and batteries will form part of the Twingo's line-up, along with regular three-cylinder petrol engines (normally aspirated and turbocharged versions will be offered). A diesel powerplant is considered unlikely.

The electric engine in the concept car has 67bhp, enough to take it to a maximum speed of 81mph. The car's four lithium-ion battery packs give it a range of 100 miles, according to Renault. It's likely that the electric version of the production car would have similar figures.

The concept car is a five-door with rear-hinged back doors but the production car will get a regular B-pillar and normal doors. Surprisingly, a three-door version is said to be not a priority.

The show car's radical cabin colours and materials will be toned down considerably for the production car, although Renault is likely to want to keep its 'stripped-out' design in a bid to give the front passengers a more airy environment. We'd expect the centre console to at least feature the possibility of accommodating Renault's R-Link infotainment system.

The Z28 RL is the latest in a series of 'keynote' concepts from Renault. It follows the Dezir sports car, the Captur, the R-Space and Frendzy. Another performance-oriented edition of the concept car is on the way; recent spy images showed a more muscular, three-door version of the Z28 RL being filmed at a race circuit.