The Renault Talisman has impressed us already with its Grand Touring qualities, and needless to say that the Grandtour version is upping the ante even more. Indeed, with its roominess and elegance, it is raising the stakes in the medium size station wagon field. We appreciated again its superb mechanical refinement, its marvelous engine and transmission, its clever and comfortable suspension and excellent handling. Need we say more? Just read on…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The team of Laurens van den Acker has hit the mark again spot on. The lines of this big station wagon are muscular and fluent, the proportions are just ideal and this from any angle. This car looks (very) good, and in our opinion will also age vary well thanks to its well chosen volumes and contours.
In the interior, this fluent elegance continues, with again this virtual instrumentation we are so fond of. According to the chosen driving mode you get an ‘eco’ linear indication, or a beautiful rev counter which is red rimmed when you have chosen the ‘sport’ mode. In the centre is always the big digital speed indication. So clever, so simple, so aesthetic.
But this is far from enough. What to think of the big central touchscreen, which is the most efficient and by far the most simple to use in the whole car industry. There simply isn’t anything better. It has all the navigation, car functions, infotainment you want, o so logical at the touch of your fingertips. No need for a manual. Ever. Totally self-explaining. It is an example for all.
Then stepping in and out of the car. Our test car came with electronically adjustable front seats, with memory of course. So every time you step in and push the starting knob, it whirrs into your ideal chosen position. But there is more. When you approach the car, it will greet you with a beep, and it opens itself. When you leave the car, say in a wintery rain storm, firmly clutching to your hat, your bag, purse and umbrella, or holding a toddler or a child by the hand, you don’t have to fumble for your key.
The Talisman will say good bye with a beep and close itself again. You will whisper a grateful word to your Talisman, I am sure…
Our car came with a velvet sounding Bose® Surround System, and this put us of course in higher spheres. We listened in these wintery days to Cecilia Bartoli, her new album with eleven world premieres, called “St Petersburg” with I Barocchisti. For the first time the musical treasures of Tsarist Russia, when three “Tsaristas”, Anna, Elisabeth and Catherine The Great, imported composers primarily from Italy… like Diego Fasolis, were heard, and the Bose® system made it sound beautifully.
We enjoyed the comfortable seats, the roominess of the cabin and the large panoramic sun roof, which came with our test car.
State of the art technology
The Energy dCi 130 and 160 engine breathes Renault’s Formula 1 technology, as it features ‘square’ architecture derived from Renault’s experience in F1, plus an unprecedented technological package (more than 30 patents for this size of engine.). We just name a few: a carefully-developed Stop&Start system combined with deceleration/regenerative braking, Cold-loop, low-pressure exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). Thermal management technology and a Variable displacement oil pump. It has variable swirl technology and a multi-injection system designed to optimize particulate filter regeneration.
Of course it has double overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. It develops 160 HP and has a generous torque of 380 Nm at merely 1750 rpm. Internally dubbed the R9M, it is also forms the basis of the Diesel engines found in the… Mercedes C Class, namely the C 180 d and the C 200 d. In the latter, it develops 136 HP.
Progress is therefore very refined indeed. Silent and smooth, last but not least because in our test car it was mated to the equally excellent EDC dual clutch auto box. State of the art, with gearchange patterns electronically controlled, and therefore adaptable in function of the chosen driving modes, comfort, neutral or sport.
Performance leaves nothing to be desired, with a 213 km/h top speed and smooth acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 9,6 seconds.
Economy is with this drivetrain also very much at the rendez-vous. We found it no effort to stay around 5,5 liters/100 km during the test. CO2 emissions are also quite low with around 120 g/km.
The Talisman handles well, and our test car had extra low speed agility with its 4 Control system, where the rear wheels will steer in the opposite direction at lower speeds, to enhance nimbleness. The suspension strikes a very good balance between comfort and handling, and we must admit that most of the time we opted for the comfort setting, which suits the character of this Talisman best.
The Talisman can be driven in most spirited fashion however, and is – in the good French tradition – an excellent “routière”.
Indeed, long distance driving is quite relaxing thanks to excellent straight line stability, the long legged comfort and the excellent sound insulation. Engine and road noise are indeed well insulated.
We greatly appreciated driver assistance systems like lane assist, cruise control, and the rearview camera, amongst others.
The Talisman is pleasant in everyday use, as we said before, space is abundant.
In normal configuration, boot space is a very creditable 572 liters, with the rear seat backrests all collapsed, a good 1681 liters is at your disposal. The floor sill is flat, so heavy objects can be loaded easily. Of course, noblesse oblige – our test car came with the electrically assisted rear boot lid.
A well built and stylish estate, which will make the owner proud. Comfortable, cleverly equipped with state of the art infotainment, pleasant to use in everyday life, and with state of the art frugal and smooth mechanics. A big Renault, which truly makes its mark in the French tradition of building iconic “grandes routières”. The Talisman Grandtour earns its place there, will look good for years to come, with its timeless proportions and its Gallic panache.
Hans Knol ten Bensel