In the 1980’s, Renault’s much modified R5 Turbo would slide its way about the rally circuit in a valiant effort to claim the podium. With its exaggerated hindquarters and impressive power-to-weight ratio the R5 Turbo was an instant rally hit, but it was femme fatale Fatima Blush driving a red R5 Turbo in James Bond’s 1983 Never Say Never Again that would bring the impudent racer to the attention of the masses. Thirty years later, Renault is paying homage to the R5 Turbo by introducing the 320 hp Twin’Run Concept Car.
Renault unveiled the new Twin’Run on Friday as part of the 71st running of the Monaco Grand Prix. Keeping the Twin’Run company during its debut showing were a Renault Clio V6 driven by F1 celeb, Charles Pic and a Maxi-5 Turbo driven by famed racer, Jean Ragnotti. The Twin’Run concept was driven by COO Carlos Tavares. All were on hand to both celebrate Renault's history in motor car racing and to pay homage to the thirty-year-old R5 racer.
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Like its thirty-year-old, Sean Connery-chasing forbear, the new concept car runs power to the rear wheels. Mounted longitudinally forward of the rear axle and behind the driver, the 3.5 liter V6 delivers 320 hp and 380 Nm (280 lb.ft) of torque. This mid-engined V6 comes straight from one of Renault’s famous stock, the Megane Trophy Racer. Managing power to the road is a SADEV six-speed sequential, twin-clutch gearbox with a limited slip differential in place to help regulate power. With these details in place, Renault claims the Twin’Run will make 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.5 seconds and hit a top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h).
The Twin’Run's customized tubular chassis is also pulled directly from the motor sports world. The tubular chassis not only reduces weight significantly but increases overall torsional strength. Skinning the Twin’Run is a glass-polyester composite inspired by the race world, while the front air blade, roof, rear vent and wheel arches are comprised of carbon fiber. A near perfect weight distribution of 43/57 is achieved partially by the mid-engine configuration, and partially by relocating the fuel tank, radiator and hydraulic system to the front of the car, up under the hood.
Inside, a naked tubular chassis, racing steering wheel and SPARCO seats with safety harnesses await the driver. To counter the racer-minimalist feel, Renault decked out the door panels and dash with Alcantara. The seats receive more of the same, with an embossed Twin’Run signature in tri-colored Alcantara.
Like its rally predecessors, the Twin’Run receives a tall, dash height shift lever for quick access to the gears. And for demo showings, the e-brake has been mounted same height for when drifting and spinning are required.
Twin’Run’s no-nonsense instrument cluster features a 5.5-inch LCD screen, set inside a white lacquer console bin. The LCD display shows the speed, gear and engine speed, fuel pressure, clutch and oil pressure, while two red gauges provide oil and water temperature.
Bearing a close resemblance to the Fiat 500, the Twin’Run is tight and tiny. Its wheels are pushed as far out to the corners as you can go without actually getting into negative overhangs and the big red and blue spoiler out back is not only proportionally ridiculous, it’s also extremely functional.
In addition to the traditional lighting arrangement, the Twin’Run also has four LED headlights up front. These customizable rally styled lights are Renault's modern-day take on light racks used for night rallying.
Dimensionally speaking, the diminutive concept is as tiny in reality as it looks on screen. Weighing in at a nimble 950 kg (2,095 lb), the car is not only light as a French baguette, but measures out at only 3.68 m (12.1 ft) long by 1.75 m (5.75 ft) wide and 1.5 m (4.92 ft) tall. But unlike the original R5 that seriously pushed lateral real estate, the Twin’Run’s wheel track dimensions remain almost identical fore and aft.
Although proportionally similar, on the inside the Twin’Run racer shares little with its Tron-inspired concept brother, the Twin’Z Concept.
“Following the first drive, I’d say this is a sound car with a strong pedigree," says Rally champ Jean Ragnotti, who was involved in the final tuning of the chassis. "It’s easy to control. You can feel straight away that it’s a sports car. In terms of balance and ride, it brings the R5 Turbo to mind to a certain extent."
Although the Twin’Run Concept looks to be a blast to drive, thus far it remains a one-off concept only. However, Renault intends to implement various aspects from the Twin series into future production models. Check it out in Renault's video promo below.