Recently Driven To Write posted a reminder of Renault’s 1988 concept car, the Megane. It struck me as having distinctly Citroen overtones.
That’s the side view: a very raked bonnet and headlamps set low. Notice the long wheelbase and short rear over-hang. There is also the blacked-out a-pillar. Compare it with the Citroen XM of the next year…
And in the roughly-altered image below, I changed the XM´s graphics so as make the c-pillar thicker and body coloured, as on the Megane.
The main graphical difference is that on the XM the roof “floats” over the dark strip of side glass; on the 1988 Megane the c-pillar interrupts the side-glass. But underneath one gets the impression of a structure the same as the XM: a tall boot volume. I almost feel that Renault saw the main features of the XM in spy-shots, perhaps a heavily disguised car, and tried to interpret them as best they could.
Here’s the front view from Eoin’s article yesterday…
And here is a similar view of the 1989 Citroen XM below. Notice the roof treatment and a-pillar treatment on the two cars.
You can see the Renault’s windscreen wraps around to the side glass using a much bigger radius than the Citoen. But the Citroen was a production design. Those side windows had to be able to wind down. Notice also that the Megane has an unusual black strip across the base of the windscreen. And so does the XM though in the photo I have found the black trim is not so apparent. Compare the heights of the headlamps.
Here is the 1989 Megane dashboard:
Here is the instrument pack that inspired it:
The packaging concept and some of the details are so uncannily alike, it really does make one wonder what was happening. Was it really pure luck or did Renault attempt to out-Citroen, Citroen?
The ’88 Megane is also study in an alternative package that prioritises interior space, an idea Renault tried with the Vel Satis. Le Quement did try to realise this aspect of the Megane concept, along with the organic forms (see the Safrane, for example).
As a small extra, ItalDesign were responsible for Subaru’s 1992 SVX (three years after the XM was revealed). Notice the wraparound windscreen which necessitates the small windows. And notice the all-glass strip between the headlamps. Lastly, the SVX has a dropped window line, not unlike the XM. I wonder if I am not pushing things to ask if ItalDesign might have prepared this theme as a Citroen XM coupe before Subaru took up the design as their own?