Renault's Espace has made it's debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show – and the Initiale Paris concept not only points to the new seven-seater MPV, but also confirms plans to launch a premium sub-brand of the same name.
The next-generation Espace won’t actually be produced in right-hand drive, so it’ll never arrive in the UK, but Renault did confirm that we would get other models wearing the Initiale Paris badge. The premium brand is similar to Ford’s Vignale sub-brand, but Renault will concentrate more on cars than customer service.
In the Initiale Paris concept, that means high-quality leathers, matt woods and aluminium trim. There’s also plenty of ambient interior lighting and a specially designed Bose sound system featuring a pair of speakers built into each of the headrests. The seven-seat interior is accessed through rear-hinged doors, and just like in the Ford B-MAX, there’s no B-pillar to make getting in even easier.
Under the bonnet is a 1.6-litre dCi 130 engine, tweaked to give torque of 400Nm – rising from 320Nm. It’s hooked up to a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox and should mean good performance, as the Initiale weighs 250kg less than the current Espace. The newcomer gets its own take on Renault’s latest family face, while chunky sills and a raised ride height deliver on the brand’s promise that the next Espace will mix SUV and MPV styling cues.
The first production Initiale Paris model will be based on the next-generation Espace and is scheduled to appear in dealers here in 2015. Other cars wearing the badge will arrive in the UK later that year. Former Renault COO Carlos Tavares has hinted that these cars could eventually drop the Renault badge entirely to become standalone Initiale Paris models.