A new type of car door? – the dragonfly wing
March 5, 2008 The common car door has seen many designs in the century-long history of the automobile, with distinctive looks such as the gullwing, scissor, suicide and butterfly each conjuring a landmark car. Now Renault has a new variation and perhaps a new landmark car - its Mégane Coupé Concept showcar released in Geneva last night, has twin, two-part “dragonfly wing” doors. The quite beautiful design will form the basis of an upcoming model.
The car sports a wide array of technological features, including mobile-phone operated ignition and door locks, plus four-zone climate control, touch-screen multi-media players and ‘stop and start’ system.
The dragonfly wing doors open to reveal futuristic, sleek and stylish interior with four independent seats, Fire Red lacquer seat structures and black leather/nubuck upholstery
Like its larger sister, Laguna Coupé Concept, which wowed the crowds in Frankfurt last September, it points to an evolution of more fluid, sportier styling from Renault.
Mégane Coupé Concept's generous bumper, wide, low grille and alveolar air-intake point to the presence of a high-performance powerplant under the bonnet. Indeed, Mégane Coupé Concept is powered by a 200hp, two-litre turbocharged petrol engine which delivers maximum torque of 280Nm at 2,600rpm and peak power of 200hp at 5,800rpm, to ensure response and flexibility at all engine speeds for everyday motoring pleasure.
Mated to a manual six-speed gearbox, the 2.0 Turbo unit accelerates Mégane Coupé Concept from zero to 62 mph in just 7.2 seconds, yet it returns economical fuel consumption of just 6.5 litres/100km (154g of CO2/km). In order to exploit this engine to the full, Mégane Coupé Concept features a sport chassis, plus suspension and steering engineered to guarantee precise, responsive handling.
This promise is pronounced by its 21-inch aluminum alloy, seven-spoke, satin-finish Dragon Grey wheels equipped with Michelin Pilot Sport tyres (245/35) which provide outstanding grip for even greater driving pleasure. Mégane Coupé Concept is a compact, stylish, dynamic coupé which delivers undeniable driving pleasure, while its sporty calling is also expressed by its modern, elegant cabin.
The latest concept previews a future compact production coupé and Renault’s more fluid, sportier styling, following widespread acclaim for the stunning Laguna Coupé Concept at last year’s Frankfurt motor show,
The sleek and aggressive-looking Mégane Coupé Concept targets drivers who are not only drawn by the notion of driving pleasure but who also seek to express their personality through their car. Mégane Coupé Concept symbolises Renault's vision of what a genuine compact sports coupé should deliver, namely character and dynamism, two traits epitomised by the opening and closing movement of its spectacular doors.
Mégane Coupé Concept provides a foretaste of the forthcoming Mégane Coupe. "This show car emphatically showcases the evolution at Renault Design. Its squatter proportions and powerful, energetic styling talk directly to the driver's senses; they say 'driving pleasure'. The spectacular, unprecedented door-opening kinematics add that little touch of magic which contributes to the dream factor associated with the automobile," explains Renault's Patrick Le Quément, Senior Vice President, Corporate Design.
From a total length of 4.51 metres, Mégane Coupé Concept features a modern, dynamic silhouette with taut lines that seem to suggest perpetual movement, while its expressive frontal styling points to a truly dynamic personality. The juxtaposition of headlamp modules with aluminium-finish air-intakes also conveys an impression of fluidity and movement. The two rows of main and dipped beam lights sit on a crystal-like striated strip which fills the sidelight and daytime running light functions.
The headlamps use high-performance LEDs (light-emitting diodes) which are both long-lasting and extremely efficient. The foglamps also employ LED technology and blend harmoniously with the dynamic, front-end styling. The shoulder-lines flow along the curvaceous sides before culminating in a squat rear-end conveying power and movement.
The four independent tubes that make up the modern rear lights are housed in the bodywork and serve as a further illustration of the dynamic, technological spirit behind Mégane Coupé Concept. Day or night, they form a highly distinctive signature. The boot, which pulls open and then lifts to minimise vertical travel, echoes the opening mechanism of the doors which are divided into two sections. The panelled door itself is topped by a separate glazed area and, as they open, the two parts deploy gracefully and elegantly in an independent movement redolent of dragonfly wings. A carbon arm at the rear of the doors connects them to the body structure and the system ensures particularly easy access for passengers. In addition to its practical aspect, this technological feature reveals a cabin that blends effortlessly with the elegance and energy of the exterior.
The interior is redolent of the world of contemporary furniture. The independent, asymmetric front seats, which rise up from the sills, seem to float in midair. Their wafer-like forms express an airy lightness, while their enveloping design guarantees comfort and holds the occupants firmly in place. The aperture revealed by the open doors carries over to the front seat shells and the upper part of the two rear seats. This sculptural, one-piece structure, which is finished in fire red lacquer, ensures a seamless link between the exterior and the cabin. The centre console extends through to the rear seats and its layered design recalls the striated bar of the headlamp modules.
The futuristic, ethereal dashboard features expressive, flowing lines and can be divided into two distinct sections: the red lacquered main structure and black nubuck inserts which can hold small items. This embedded zone houses the sophisticated instrumentation which takes its inspiration from aviator-style watches, including a speedometer which displays the speed in analogue form on the periphery and in digital form in the centre, plus an analogue rev-counter. Both feature black metallic backgrounds with white graphics and red backlighting.
The choice of colours and materials is another means by which the exterior and interior have been harmonised to highlight Mégane Coupé Concept's volumes and magic. The iridescent Dragon Grey body-colour goes well with the dragonfly-like door-opening mechanism and the paintwork's rainbow finish gives a fresh vision of the car every time the light changes: even at rest, it appears to be in movement. Meanwhile, the interior's contrasting colour-scheme underpins the dynamic exterior thanks to the blend of fire red lacquer (dashboard, upper part of the centre console, front seatbacks, etc.) and softer black leather or nubuck for the door panels, seat cushions and centre console). The door panels themselves incorporate supple, slide-locking stowage, while the floor is protected by a black, modern, graphic mesh. Carrying over the red of the interior, there are hints of red outside, too, including the roofline, foglamp surrounds, wheel spokes and exhaust tailpipes.
The different controls have been inspired by Renault’s ‘Touch Design’ approach and are both simple and practical. The multi-media control on the centre console is coupled with a display divided into three zones. The central part displays all journey-related information (navigation, radio, music, video, Bluetooth® telephone), while the screens on either side show the images relayed by cameras incorporated in the exterior mirrors. Mégane Coupé Concept is locked and unlocked using a Samsung F700 mobile phone which serves as a hands-free card and connects to the centre console. Both rear passengers benefit from a portable Samsung P2 audio/video multimedia player with touch screen which they can use to swap files using the mp3/video Bluetooth controls.
The four-zone climate control system allows each passenger to select the temperature they prefer using controls housed either side of the dashboard in the case of the front passengers or on the front seatbacks for rear occupants.
Special care has also gone into ensuring that the cabin is brightly lit. The red backlighting of the instruments contrasts with the surrounding black backgrounds. Meanwhile, the panoramic windscreen extends over the roof to bathe the cabin with light during the day and blue-hued cabin lighting at night.
Finally, if you’re interested in the vast array of door designs we’ve witnessed over history, check out this list of door designs at Wikipedia – note the links to the individual cars sporting those designs – hours of fun for engineers, designers and those with a fascination for doing it differently and/or better.