The 1988 Renault Megane concept car development didn't have to take into account American tastes. The French automotive giant was almost unknown in the United States.
After Chrysler took over American Motors in 1987 and abandoned the Renault-styled (but Wisconsin-built) Alliance and Encore, Renault virtually disappeared from the American motoring mind.
Yet 1988 Renault Megane concept car development certainly wasn't harmed by a Euro-centric focus. First seen at the Paris Auto Salon in autumn 1988, the 1988 Renault Megane concept car demonstrated Renault was still very much alive on the Continent.
Not only had profits hit record levels in the wake of financial weakness during the mid 1980s, but the revived company, which is owned by the French government, was eager to flex its motorcar muscle and show what it could do in futuristic style and technology.
The 1988 Renault Megane concept car development was meant to demonstrate that Renault meant "business in the difficult upper end of the market." Rather than turn to a super sports car concept on the order of Ferrari's F40, the company chose instead to create a shape never seen before, "plump yet not appearing so, a completely new form."
In addition to aesthetic appeal, the Renault Megane concept car's unique aerodynamic shape sliced neatly through the air, with a drag coefficient as low as 0.21. That was close to aircraft levels.
Renault described its first real concept car as "a supercar for living." Most amazing of all, the Mégane went from idea to drivable concept in just eight months. Patrick le Quement, formerly with Ford and Volkswagen before becoming design director for Renault, told Automobile magazine that he had three priorities in mind: an "attractive shape, a convincing concept, and...driving pleasure."
Not many people would have an opportunity to experience the latter, but on the first two counts, at the very least, Renault had hit a bull's-eye.
Keep reading to see 1988 Renault Megane concept car specifications.