Renault Twin’Run Concept Is Everything We Love About French Hatchbacks
By Brandon Turkus
May 24, 2013
The Renault Twin’Run Concept is the latest in a line of slightly eccentric hot hatchbacks from Renault.
The brand initially took the diminutive 5, also known as Le Car to our American readers, and rebuilt it as a homologation special. With styling from Marcello Gandini, a mid-mounted, 1.4-liter, turbocharged four and rear-wheel drive, the R5 Turbo offered up 158 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque. That doesn’t sound all that great, until you realize that the tiny R5 weighed barely 2000 pounds.
The next effort was the almost-as-crazy Clio V6 Renault Sport. Like the R5, it had a mid-engine, rear-drive layout. Instead of a tiny turbo, though, it received a bruising, 3.0-liter V-6 that at its prime produced in the neighborhood of 250 horsepower.
Renault, recognizing that its lineup was disturbingly short of insanity, has now built a follow-up to the Clio V6 and R5 Turbo, although it’s strictly labeled as a concept. It’s called the Twin’Run Concept, and is the ultimate expression of the Twin’Z EV and Twingo city car.
Following tradition, it’s rear-wheel drive, with a mid-mounted engine plucked right from the Megane Trophy racer. The 3.2-liter V-6 is hooked up to a six-speed, sequential gearbox, and generates 320 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. That will launch the lightweight, fiber-glass bodied car to 62 miles per hour in just 4.5 seconds.
The Twin’Run’s powertrain isn’t the only race-sourced item on the car. Ohlins’ shocks are fitted front and rear in the double-wishbone suspension, while a 22-millimeter sway bar sits up front and a 25-millimeter bar is in back. Aerodynamics are also optimized, with a hefty rear spoiler and front-end aids to direct air under the car.
There’s a full race cabin here, as well, with plenty of “Alcantara effect” suede, a race-sourced steering wheel and gear lever. A 5.5-inch LCD relays pertinent information to the driver, including items like speed, gear, rpm, and fuel, oil, and clutch pressures.
The styling of the Twin’Run is classic, with French Racing Blue paint and red accents. Four rally lights are mounted up front, in a nod to the R5’s rally history. Another nod to the car that started this crazy Renault phase is the car’s racing numbers, a five on each door.
Now, will we ever see a production Twin’Run Concept? Renault says no. We hope, more than just about anything, that we’re being lied to. The French brand has a history of building these kind of crazy things, and we’d hate to see that end with just a mere concept.