Nobody does 'premium' like Renault – and we do mean nobody. The French automaker has thrown all manner of projectiles at Europe's luxury car market dartboard over the years, including the left-field Vel Satis and Avantime 'coupe' of the 2000s – models that looked more like MPVs than traditional premium cars. Today, Renault still offers its po-faced Latitude sedan, but the badge-engineered Korean Samsung SM5 hasn't caught on – even among Francophiles. In fact, the whole idea of
Renault believes there's enough Alpine love to restart that brand with its own model almost immediately. The launch of the Initiale Paris luxury brand it's been mulling, on the other hand, will be more restrained: a report in Autocar says that instead of launching with a first model based on the Mercedes E-Class architecture, Renault is going to introduce an Initiale Paris trim line on the new Clio and Espace. More accurately, that should be 're-introduce and aggressively market,' since Renault
The Renault Initiale Paris concept car from 1995 (pictured) became the company's Vel Satis flagship model that sold from 2002 to 2009 – although the Vel Satis did without the concept's detuned Formula One engine, a 392-horsepower, 3.5-liter Renault Sport RS6 V10, which might be why it never sold as well as desired. Renault has held on to the Initiale Paris name, though, using to denote the top trim on cars like the Laguna, Espace, Clio and even the dinky Modus supermini.