With what is one of the most significant cars to be introduced for some time, Renault have brought the turbocharger down from the heady heights of the sporting or luxury saloon sector of the market to the family four/five seater. In doing so, they have explored the flexible attributes and economical advantages of the turbocharger to the full.
The 18 Turbo, despite the “Turbo” stripes and badges with which Renault have thought to decorate it, is not a fiery road eater — it is a family saloon whose economy to performance ratio is truly outstanding, since it has the performance of a 2+-litre car with the economy of a 1600 c.c. engine. Where else can one obtain four comfortable seats, a 30 to 33 m.p.g. fuel consumption under normal to fast driving conditions, 0 to 60 in ten seconds and a top speed of 115 m.p.h. for £6,500?
We are hoping to be able to test the car thoroughly in the near future, so a detailed description would be out of place here. Suffice it to say that brief impressions of the car over a 100 miles or so of Dorset and Hampshire roads recently show that the car is all that Renault claim for it, even if a colleague from a rival publication with whom I was sharing the car did manage to bring the fuel consumption down to the low 20s by dint of driving just about flat-out the whole time, with the uncalibrated manifold pressure gauge showing nearly maximum boost. The boost pressure is very slight when cruising at the legal maximum, rises to about half range when accelerating normally, and reaches the maximum (quoted as 8.5 psi.) under hard acceleration.