Wraps off gullwing Renault

17 Sep, 2008 12:19pm Ben Whitworth

Meet the Ondelios, the radical Renault which proves the French firm has rediscovered its design flair. The outlandish newcomer debuts at next month’s Paris Motor Show – and reveals what the Espace for 2020 might look like!

According to the company, the Ondelios is an environmentally friendly crossover that can carry six passengers in sumptuous comfort. And, due to its advanced hybrid powertrain, those on board can travel with a clean, green conscience.

“The Ondelios is inspired by motion rather than speed, and is a whole new response to the call of the open road,” Renault’s design director Patrick Le Quément told us. The car’s name comes from a mix of the word ‘onde’ (French for wave) and ‘Helios’ (the Greek god of the sun) and reflects the car’s fluid lines and sleek bodywork. At 4.8 metres long, two metres wide and 1.6 metres high, it’s about the same size as an Audi Q7, but its vast proportions are disguised by exceptionally clean and smooth lines.

The aluminium-finish grille, boomerang  tail-lights, rear air extractors and glass roof all work together to create a drag co-efficient figure of only 0.29Cd. Swing the vast doors open – they’re hinged at the roof  – and you’re faced with a truly elegant interior swathed in fine leathers and fabrics. Each of the six ‘floating’ seats has a footrest and drop-down screen. The second row slides and folds to allow access to the back.

Touchscreens on the dash display engine and navigation data, as well as images from the door cameras, which replace mirrors. The Ondelios is a hybrid, powered by a 205bhp version of Renault’s 2.0 dCi turbodiesel engine, linked to a seven-speed double-clutch transmission – plus two 27bhp electric motors that operate in mild hybrid mode. In addition, the front engine uses stop-start technology, while the rear motor kicks in if it detects a lack of traction in the front wheels, effectively making the Ondelios a part-time all-wheel driver.

With a hefty 450Nm of torque kicking in at 1,700-3,800rpm, the hybrid powertrain propels the car from 0-60mph in only 7.8 seconds, while returning 63mpg and posting 120g/km CO2 emissions. “The Ondelios is a glimpse of what the automobile might be in the future,” claimed Le Quément. Visitors to the show can check it out from 4 October.