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Renault : Vel Satis, a new way of looking at the top of the range

''Vel Satis expresses Renault's ambition at the top of the range. There has in all likelihood never been a model as emblematic of our brand values of modernity and technological expertise. By proposing a genuine top-of-the-range alternative, Renault has taken a step that is both daring and carefully measured. Daring, because Vel Satis stands apart from traditional saloons and, thus, follows on from the company's tradition of innovative design. Carefully measured, inasmuch as this grand tourer possesses all the fundamentals of a top-of-the-range car, in terms of quality, refinement, equipment, comfort, driving pleasure, sturdiness and services.'' Louis Schweitzer

Renault Vel Satis
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Cramped up in a traditional saloon? Vel Satis innovates by creating a new taller and roomier top-of-the-range saloon.

Awkward access and confined cabin conditions are too often the hallmark of traditional saloons. Vel Satis invents a new architecture. Compared with the average for the segment (13 cm taller), its dimensions are generous. Indeed, with a wheelbase of 284 cm, it offers exceptional spaciousness to all inside. In addition, the increased seat height (1O cm more than Safrane) guarantees greater visibility and greater ease of ingress.

Vel Satis dimensions:

  • Wheelbase: 2,840 mm

  • Overall length: 4,860 mm

  • Overall width: 1,860 mm

  • Unladen height: 1,577 mm

The three-box saloon: is there no other way? Renault turns its back on traditional thinking to create a new concept: Vel Satis.

Renault Vel Satis
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However prestigious it may be, the shape of the top of the range is not set in stone; and if the three-box design represents the traditional reference point, it is not the only one. Impressive but not intimidating, Vel Satis makes its mark with poise. From the striking radiator grille with its well-proportioned logo to its compact stern and its vast wide-angle rear window that stretches back round on either side of the vehicle, the profile it offers is second to none and highly individual, dynamic and explosive, taut and clean. A highly-engineered silhouette, amply sized with surprising proportions. Individual though it is, Vel Satis also inherits the legacy of the concept cars Initiale (1995) and Vel Satis (1998), two studies in French flair sketching a top of the range, Renault-style. Both were automobiles of quality, well received and running completely against the international top of the range current that can at times be rather restrictive.

Good old wood and leather like everybody else? Faced with the abundant use of aged leather and dark, varnished wood, Vel Satis offers the alternative of light shades that put the emphasis on refinement.

Renault Vel Satis
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Vel Satis does, indeed, use noble and authentic materials, such as wood and leather, but it does so in its own way. The cabin is made up of soft, clean lines which blend in with the bright monochrome ambience with its stretched and perforated Connolly leather* (seat backs and cushions) and, thus, make up the Vel Satis atmosphere. In the same way, the glazed surfaces and high seating maximize available light and the satin-finish, inlaid* wooden door panels bring out the refinement and attention to detail of the interior as a whole. Spacious and welcoming, Vel Satis strengthens the feeling of well-being that reigns in its cabin with a highly personal atmosphere, created from shapes, colours and materials.

* this varies according to the version

There can be no top of the range without first-rate dynamic performance. Vel Satis agrees with this precept and comes equipped with high-performance engines and new 'trigonal' multi-link rear suspension system.

Vel Satis meets the expectations of its S-segment customers, carefully choosing its powertrain units in order to provide a high level of driving pleasure whilst taking into account its own specific architecture. The first product of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, the 3.5 V6 petrol engine develops power of 170 kW (235bhp) at 6,000 rpm and torque of 330 Nm at 3,600 rpm. In order to optimize the torque curve at all engine speeds, this unit is equipped with two continuous camshaft angle variators that govern intake and which are mated with a motorized throttle valve unit. Vel Satis completes its engine offer with a V6 3.0-litre 24-valve diesel with VNT and common rail injection. In addition to being highly compact (486mm by 483mm), this unit boasts an engine block and cylinder head made of aluminium, which ensures that weight is saved and fuel consumption reduced. It develops power of 130 kW (180bhp) at 4,400 rpm and torque of 350 Nm available at revs as low as 1,800 rpm. These two engines drive through 5-speed Proactive automatic transmission with sequential shift which brings both driving pleasure and increased fuel economy.

Vel Satis uses MacPherson-type front suspension whilst the rear axle sees a new 'trigonal' multi-link suspension system. This rear suspension, which has been patented by Renault, marks a technological breakthrough. Its specific kinematics make for more precise location and exceptional stability. Thanks to the fact that there are only three wheels/body attachments and that it includes a filtered sub-frame and numerous flexible mountings, road noise is greatly diminished and ride comfort increased. Another striking fact about this 'trigonal' suspension system is that it is actually more compact than traditional multi-link suspension.

Are multimedia systems possible yet in the automobile? Vel Satis is equipped with a wide-screen format video screen with DVD reader for rear passengers, intelligent Carminat navigation and Grand Auditorium Cabasse radio system with built-in 6-CD multichanger.

Renault Vel Satis
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With all this equipment, a whole new world of possibilities opens up: the rear passengers can now settle into an environment something like that of their sitting room. The video system is made up of a DVD reader, a wide-screen format screen (6.5'') that folds away in the central armrest, and a video control unit with special remote controls.

This allows rear passengers to watch video images from various different sources: DVD, camcorder or games console. The entire system is perfectly integrated inside the cabin and is teamed up with the Grand Auditorium Cabasse radio with built-in 6-CD multichanger, with which it shares the Cabasse speakers (4X40 W). Incorporated into the dashboard, along with its wide-screen format colour screen, Carminat and its GPS navigation system takes account of traffic information broadcast by the network of FM stations and gives users the possibility of taking an alternative route by keeping them updated - in real time - as to the state of traffic on the roads.

Technology for technology's sake? Vel Satis saves the driver all unnecessary hassle by selecting intelligent technological equipment for travelling comfort and driving pleasure.

As on Laguna II, the Renault card from now on replaces the traditional key. Once inside the vehicle, brand new high-comfort seats welcome the driver and front passenger. Made up of three elements (cushion/back/upper section) instead of the two on a traditional seat, these give greater ergonomic comfort thanks to their five electric settings, four of which can be stored in the memory, and built-in three-point safety belts. Seated comfortably, the driver inserts the card into the reader, presses the start/stop button and sets off straightaway without giving a second thought to the handbrake. This is made possible by a new, innovative feature: the automatic parking brake has completely replaced the traditional handbrake. Entirely automatic, this is unlocked when the engine is switched on and locks again when it is next switched off. Day-to-day driving is, thus, made easier and the driver can concentrate on relaxing and enjoying the pleasures of driving Vel Satis.

It also means extra room in the cabin and help with all those tricky manoeuvres, like hill starts and so on. On the road, the new adaptive cruise control includes a radar that adapts the speed of Vel Satis to that of the vehicle in front. Here Vel Satis innovates yet again, taking advantage of all the latest equipment: automatic headlamp illumination, rain sensor, parking proximity sensor, fuel flap with integrated opening (no more cap), ESP, tyre pressure monitoring system, emergency braking assistance, programmed restraint system, two adaptive front airbags, four side airbags and two curtain airbags. The overall effect is an easier drive and greater peace of mind for the driver.

 Source : Renault

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