Renault Wind, Meganes and Clio Gordini
* Coverage from the Geneva motor show * All the new cars revealed * Multimedia report, here...
Renault's motor show focus has moved from frugality to fun with two new open-top cars, a Clio Renaultsport with the Gordini treatment and warm versions of the Megane all unveiled in Geneva.
Renault's brand new baby roadster took its official bow at Geneva and the car on show is exactly the same as the car that will hit showrooms later this summer.
The Wind is Renault's response to the likes of the Mini convertible and Peugeot 207CC, and is aimed at motorists who 'lust after a car that is not only distinctive and compact, but also convertible yet practical enough for everyday use'.
Underneath, the Wind is based on the same platform as the Twingo with Twingo-esque looks at the front end. The new car is just over 200mm longer than its hatchback sister, and Renault will market the two cars separately a good job as the Wind is expected to cost from around 16,000, about 5000 more than the equivalent Twingo..
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However, the company is keen to point out that the Wind is not just a convertible version of the Twingo. It will have its own look, and Renault says that everything an owner sees or touches in the Wind will be unique to it.
The most obvious of those features is its roof-folding mechanism that allows the hard top to pivot from over the passenger compartment to over the boot. The whole operation takes just 12 seconds, and no matter what position the roof is in, the boot capacity remains the same at 270 litres.
Just two engines will be available, the 99bhp 1.2 TCE from the Twingo GT and the 131bhp 1.6 from the Twingo Renaultsport. There are no plans for a diesel-engined version or for further models to join the range.
The sun has obviously been shining somewhere in France, with Renault launching not one, but two open top cars at Geneva. Following in the wheeltracks of the Wind is a coup convertible version of the latest Megane.
Just like the old Megane CC, the four-seater has a large glass two-part folding roof the latest one can be raised or lowered in 21 seconds. There's also a fixed glass wind deflector behind the back-seat headrests which, Renault claims, enables all four occupants to enjoy 'draught-free driving' at speeds of up to 56mph.
The Megane comes with a choice of two petrol engines or three diesels. The lower-powered diesel, the 106bhp 1.5 dCi , is Renault's first model that can be specified with the company's version of Volkswagen's semi-automatic DSG gearbox.
Renault's EDC (Efficient Dual Clutch) transmission lowers emissions and improves fuel economy over models fitted with the manual gearbox.
Prices for the Megane CC have yet to be revealed, but expect them to stick close to those of the rival Peugeot 308 CC, which starts at around 20,000. Expect to pay around 1400 extra for the EDC gearbox.
The EDC gearbox will also be available in the other versions of the Megane, and the Renault Scenic MPV, shortly after the Megane CC goes on sale.
Clio Gordini 200
Hot on the heels of the recently announced Twingo Gordini 133 comes the Clio Gordini 200.
The Clio Gordini gets a Renaultsport chassis and 200horsepower engine, but adds a more luxurious twist to the standard Renaultsport Clios. In addition to the famous Gordini blue paintwork and bold white stripes, the interior is leather clad with black lacquer and metal trimmings.
Equipment befits the new range topper with an iPod ready stereo, keyless go, cruise control and automatic lights and wipers.
If you think all that's a bit too gentile for your sporting Renault, you can opt for a more hardcore 'Cup' package.
Both versions of the Clio Gordini 200 should reach the UK in the summer, with prices starting at around 19,000
Megane GT and GT Line
If our current Hot Hatch of the Year is just a little too hardcore or out of your reach price-wise, Renault has the answer with warm GT and GT Line versions of the Megane hatch, coupe, estate or newly-launched Coupe-Cabriolet.
Although the GT misses out on the sought-after Renaultsport badge, Renault Sport Technologies have helped with the development and even handed over the some of the bits found in the hottest Megane.
GT Line versions are based on the more workaday Dynamique models, but use the more sports orientated chassis from the Megane Coupe. You can choose from a 110hp version of the 1.5dCi engine, which also features Renault's new EDC twin-clutch automatic gearbox, or there's the 1.4 TCe 130 turbocharged petrol engine.
GT versions are deemed to be even more exclusive with chassis upgrades from the Renaultsport Megane and a choice of petrol 2.0 TCe 180 and 2.0 dCi 160 engines.
Both models get external tweaks including revamped bumpers, special colours and snazzy alloys, while the interior also gets new seat coverings, aluminium pedal covers and sporty trim around the dash and doors. GT models get bigger alloys, a beefier steering wheel and sill plates that bear the sought-after Renaultsport logo.
In what's going to be a busy time at Renault showrooms, the GT and GT Line versions of the Megane will also arrive in the summer.