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The Renault Trezor is the retro-future concept car of my childhood dreams

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All electric, all eccentric

I was on my way to photograph the new Lamborghini Huracán Performante when I had to stop, set aside the Lambo plans for a moment, and just feast my eyes on the Renault Trezor concept car. It’s impossible to walk by it without being wowed and impressed by its design, which is equal parts Tim Burton-era Batmobile and 1940s touring car. The Trezor is long and low to the ground, and access to it happens by opening up the whole car — both driver and passenger have to hop in, since there are no actual doors to open. Oh, and there are hexagonal flaps on the front hood that lift up to assist cooling.

If I had to sketch you my dream car as a kid, it would have looked an awful lot like this Renault. The French company has indulged all the most basic instincts for creating exuberantly masculine lines — though the company’s designers claim the shape is "sensual" rather than threatening — and over-the-top flourishes. I get the feeling that every car designer exhibiting new stuff in Geneva has at some point drawn concepts of this kind, only to "grow up" and do more mature and contemporary stuff.

Beside the striking looks, Renault’s concept also exhibits the company’s future vision about the way we’ll power our cars. The Trezor is fully electric, with one battery pack at the front, sitting under those cooling flaps, and another one at the back. It’s a luxuriously spacious two-seater, and in the red-upholstered area in front of each passenger is a vast luggage space.

Renault has decided to be absolutist with the materials used in the Trezor (which you can be when you’re talking about a concept car that’s in no danger of going on sale anytime soon), opting for only aluminum, carbon, leather, and wood on the outside. I’m partial to all of those from my experience reviewing headphones, so I approve of Renault’s commitment, even if it never comes to fruition in a mass-market car. Also of only academic importance: this car can go from 0 to 100kmh in less than 4 seconds, and its range is rated somewhere between 160km and 200km.

The Trezor’s dashboard is a wraparound multi-panel display that matches the retro sci-fi vibe that the rest of the car evokes — though it’s also modern enough to have WhatsApp installed on it. I’m sure actually owning one of these cars would be a woefully impractical driving experience, what with that enormous front end, red-tinted glass, and clumsy ingress and egress.

But just for a little while, in the chaotic environs of the Geneva Motor Show, the Trezor threw me back to the dreams of my childhood and resurfaced the wonders and enthusiasms of that adolescent time. If that’s Renault’s vision for what cars can and should do in the future — using their technological and engineering innovations to pull at our heartstrings — then consider me a fan.

Photography by Vlad Savov / The Verge