Renault Nepta joins Citroen C-Metisse in the French Ballet of the doors
By Mike Hanlon
September 7, 2006
September 8, 2006 Paris is renowned for the beauty of its springtime, but in autumn the spectacular sites around the beautiful capital are enhanced by the French automotive industry showcase, the Paris Motor Show. And this year the French have debuted some spectacularly elegant egress solutions offering doors that open in new ways. Yesterday we ran news of Citroen's C-Metisse Concept – a diesel-electric, 4-seater coupe with a spectacular four door ballet command performance when the doors open to present the passengers to the pavement - the front doors open gull-wing style while the rear doors spin round. Now comes Renault's Nepta concept car, a four-seater cabriolet with an equally dramatic and elegant egress solution in the form of motor-driven gull wing doors that open to reveal the interior and the engine. The doors pivot so high that they are fitted with electronic obstacle detectors. As is befitting the current F1 championship status of Renault, the Nepta is seriously fast with a 3.5-liter V6 powering a seven-speed automatic gearbox via F1-style steering flick-shift. The 420hp direct injection petrol engine combines outstanding performance, with low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
This flowing, elegant four-seater cabriolet is an expression of Renault's vision of driving pleasure. The wave-shaped side panels give an impression of fluidity and highlight Nepta's long body shape; an effect that is further enhanced by the special anodic aluminium colour treatment on the lower part of the body shell, the mud flaps and the front and rear spoilers.
The front end is simple yet expressive. The LED headlights are made up of three assemblies: the daytime running lights, the dipped and main beam headlights and the steering lights. The headlights use a technology based on the reflection and propagation of light. The light beam from the main headlights is reflected by crystal-shaped transparent blocks that are electronically controlled for more precise lighting. The quantity and distribution of the light automatically adapts to the driving conditions. The rounded forms of the front wings are enhanced by the innovative boomerang-shaped indicator lights, positioned at the top of the lighting units.
The long and tapered rear end, which is punctuated by the crystals of the rear lights, adds a further sense of movement to Nepta. The overhang is longer at the rear than at the front, highlighting the vehicle's attractive proportions and flowing line. Nepta is an echo of the golden age of automotive styling, while remaining resolutely modern and innovative.
The dashboard appears to be suspended, while the extensions of the windscreen illuminate the pedal unit and make for a bright and clear driving station. The rev counter and cone-shaped instruments are surrounded by leather trim. The design of the instruments pays tribute to vehicles of the past, while the aluminium treatment adds a modern touch. The combination of analogue and digital displays is a further expression of classic cars and the modern era. The air conditioning controls located at each end of the dashboard can be independently adjusted by each occupant and combine advanced technology and ease of use.
The centrally-mounted, rotary gear shift is easy and comfortable to use. The conveniently positioned multimedia information controls can be easily reached, while the stalk switches and control paddles mounted on the steering wheel are designed to match the shape of the driver's hands. The seats are fixed, but the steering wheel and the pedals can be adjusted by a motor-driven mechanism to match the driver's dimensions.
The dashboard features special storage compartments for glasses and other personal objects, while the central console also has a sliding cubby located between the rear seats. The red leather upholstery creates an impression of continuity between the vehicle interior and the engine compartment. Both bench seats are coated with leather decorated with printed patterns. The four comfortable seats are secured to the floor by aluminium struts reminiscent of sailing boats.
DVD screens with folding protective covers are installed in the upper sections of the backs of the front seats. The lower sections are decorated with elegant leather netting that is ideal for storing magazines.
The rear passengers are protected against turbulence by the transparent air deflectors positioned between the front and rear seats.