Renault’s 2016 Talisman revealed. It’s a sober and serious saloon. It’s the anti-Laguna.
It took me a good twenty minutes of careful reading to get through the entirety of Renault’s very, very detailed press release. The three things that struck me most were the bit to do with emu feathers, the use of four wheel steering and the fact the Talisman is a saloon. Naturally the car is not available in green but ten other colours which can be summarised as two whites, two greys, two blacks, red, beige and brown. One of those blacks is only available on the Paris Initiale version. They won’t sell it in the UK or Ireland.
If you want to get Renault’s full low-down on the car you can read it here and I recommmend that you do. There are a number of conclusions to be drawn about the car plus the bit about emu feathers which I will come to later and it’s those I focus on though there is a lot more in the press release worth dwelling on.
Initially as one reads the text you get the impression of a car that, dimensionally, is quite big enough. The engine range is creditable and, as predicted by this website, the V6s are no more. That will save the motoring press from writing a dismissive review of the V6s but this is just a bit sad. Not a surprise. But a tiny bit sad.
The Talisman looks like having the same sort of engines as a Megane – three diesels and two petrol engines; it’s a French car so engines are not really the story here though the carbon dioxide emissions on the 110 hp DCi motor are officially just 95 g/km. The gearbox situation is that the two petrols and the top-line diesel only get a dual-clutch, automatic transmission. So if you get a petrol you get an automatic ´box. Two of the diesels, the 110 and 130 DCi get the option of a six-speed manual or the auto box.
Away from engines and onto the suspension and steering. I have called for Renault to do more with their four wheel steering and, lo, the Talisman has this feature. It is allied to an adjustable suspension which can be tuned for comfort, sportiness, eco and neutral. This goes with the possibility to alter the steering, interior lighting and even the type of air conditioning. Renault says this will help access the mood of the driver so that if she or indeed he is feeling the need for wafting then the suspension can be set to comfort but the steering and interior lighting will be tuned as well to promote a feeling of ease. This is the only point where I will quote the Press Release verbatim:
“Each of these very distinct settings creates and co-ordinates a specific driving emotion by adjusting:
The engine response
The EDC transmission’s gearshift calibration
The degree of effort required to turn the steering wheel
The active damping settings
The configuration of the 4Control system
At the same time, the in-car ambience is harmonised by adapting:
The colour of the ambient lighting to the required mood (green, blue, sepia, red or purple)
The presentation and colour of the information displayed by the instruments
The engine sound
The driver’s massaging seat, activated in Comfort mode
The performance of the climate control system in Eco mode”
Renault really do go into incredible detail about the details into which they have peered to make this car competitive. The styling explanation can wait for later. Note though it’s a saloon (like the German cars), it’s available in lots of greys (like the German cars), and no profile image of the car has been shown in the extensive press release series. That is a concern.
The interior is quite simply quite nice, particularly if you opt for the leather-coated Paris Initiale line up which is roughly on the same level as Ford’s Vignale Mondeo. That’s two manufacturers now offering a pampering, cossetting, boutiquey version of their family saloon. Renault are bullish about the Initiale version and make the point that Espace customers are falling over themselves for this top-line trim. This shows there is a market for Lancias.
The paint: this is where the emu feathers come into the story. At some point in the painting process (377 words of a description) feathers are used to utterly remove all possible flecks of dust prior to painting. I was going say that a lot of money was invested in the paint process. The press release reads is if €420 million was spent on the paint shop but that sum was spent on a hot stamping process, a new light-tunnel and a new quality optimisation procedure.
How much can a procedure and a light tunnel cost? I thought that Renault had noticed how lush Opel Insignias are due to their glossy, glossy paint after Bob Lutz demanded heavy investment in the coatings. Renault certainly want us to know these cars are going to look shiny and stay looking shiny. That’s good for sales and residuals which is good for sales.
Quality, quality, quality: paint, interiors and assembly. Efficiency: those five dreary engines. A 600 litre boot. Lots of grey, blacks and whites. And the only bit that excites me, the four wheel steering and the emu feathers. The obvious target for this car was the BMW 3-series. Renault are hoping John Travlolta and “aviation afficionadoes” might be interested, judging by the photo shoots.
That is the new Renault Talisman. If Renault is as serious as they sound about regaining the D-segment, the people who will worry first are Citroen, Ford and Opel – Ford most of all. And emus.
DETAILS OF THE CAR IN OUTLINE
- Length: 4.85m / Width: 1.87m / Height: 1.46m / Wheelbase: 2.81m
- Rear knee room: 262mm – thanks to innovative new
- Boot volume (VDA): 608dm3 / Total cabin stowage: 25 dm3
- Not available in the UK and Ireland.
- Grey, black, beige, white and red paint.
- Diesel (with six-speed transmission, from 95g of CO2/km): Energy dCi 110 (manual or EDC), 130 (manual or EDC), dCi 160 (EDC)
- Petrol (with seven-speed EDC transmission): Energy TCe 150, Energy TCe 200
- Unique association of 4Control technology (four-wheel steering) and active damping
- A personalised driving experience courtesy of Multi-Sense technology (Comfort, Sport, Eco, Neutral and Perso modes)
- A shortcut button to switch instantly between Sport and Comfort modes