A conversation with Renault Design’s second in command, Anthony Grade, helps to clarify the thinking behind the second generation Renault Mégane. This new version of the car originally created by Patrick Le Quément offers the best possible insight into the new direction of Renault Design and was introduced at the Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris.

Daring to be different but in a rather “tamer” way than controversial models like the Vel Satis or the Avantime, the Mégane II exhibits the same total commitment to quality. Segment C of course is the European industry’s biggest earner (and vital in all markets) and with such a vast and varied audience to please, the Mégane II has been designed for emotional impact, so that while still futuristically, angular its lines have more of a seductive, Latin feel.

“Of course”, says Grade, “this new car left us greater freedom in one way, but also imposed more constraints. On the one hand, the completely new floorpan offered us a unique opportunity. It meant we could improve on the original Mégane’s proportions and balance and make it sit more stably on the road. Once we’d done that, the car almost designed itself. What imposed the constraints, on the other hand, was the fact that any Segment C model has to please a far bigger public, so we were forced to be a little less daring”. That is particularly true of the interior which is the most conventional aspect of the new Mégane, adopting as it does the touch-design approach that has become the banner of Le Quément and his team.

“The interior”, continues Grade, “is extremely driver-oriented and we feel sure it will attract a younger class of motorist than we are used to”.

And judging from the crowd that thronged the Renault stand at the Mondial, they certainly got that bit right.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 136

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