Today, Lucire has come full circle. One of the earliest stories on the web for our group was on the Renault Clio‚Äôs Nicole and Papa campaign, created in the early 1990s by Publicis. The Clio, which was the first Renault to hit the best sellers‚Äô lists consistently in the UK, was sold with a cheeky campaign featuring two characters‚ÄĒNicole, a young French lass, and Papa, obviously, her father. Those were the only two words uttered in the majority of the commercials, with the exceptions of ‚ÄėMaman‚Äô and ‚ÄėBob‚Äô, the final referring to comedian Bob Mortimer.
The last Nicole and Papa TVC, released when the Clio II was launched in 1998, saw Nicole finally walk down the aisle, about to marry Vic Reeves (a.k.a. Jim Moir) when she finally decides, at the last minute, to run off with Bob Mortimer instead.
It‚Äôs hard to believe that Nicole and Papa entered the British consciousness 20 years ago, in a series which also marketed French flair and the belief that the French have a better lifestyle than the British.
The Clio is still with us, but it‚Äôs much larger than before. Now on its fourth incarnation, the latest Clio is more expressive and sporty in looks, thanks to the work of Laurens van den Acker. It‚Äôs on the previous model‚Äôs platform, albeit heavily revised, and that‚Äôs a good thing. In the stories we did on the Clio‚ÄĒboth publisher Jack Yan and travel editor Stanley Moss took Clio 3s around France and New Zealand‚ÄĒwe found it one of the most capable superminis, a small car with a big-car feel. In fact, we found it better for cruising New Zealand‚Äôs South Island than the Holden Commodore, which we tried around the same time.
Clio IV features an 899 cm¬≥, three-cylinder engine, but it‚Äôs turbocharged, developing more than 90 PS‚ÄĒthose are the sorts of eco-friendly, yet powerful, specs that you can expect from the French these days. Renault claims a combined 88¬∑3 mpg from the Energy dCi 90 engine. Archrival Peugeot similarly has three-cylinder units for its 208, the Clio‚Äôs closest rival at home, though the entry-level engine here is actually a 1¬∑1 four which develops 75 PS. An RS model appears in 2013, getting 200 PS from a turbocharged 1¬∑6, continuing the tradition of pocket rockets from Clio‚ÄĒLucire photographer Doug Rimington once owned a Clio RS 182, which proved to be an able and taut sports hatch.
The great thing is that Clio IV has the looks to match its ‚Äėva-va-voom‚Äô nature. The new model‚Äôs styling conveys everything that Nicole and Papa tried to do: that when you get a Clio, you‚Äôre getting a dose of French flair. But wait, there‚Äôs more: ‚Äėva va voom‚Äô includes a sense of passion, something which van den Acker‚Äôs styling attempts to do. This isn‚Äôt a dull little hatch in the domestic appliance mould: Clio IV is emotive, and even sexy. They‚Äôre not words you tend to hear in the B-segment.
To show just what Renault means, the company has come up with two videos, one for unsuspecting male test drivers who come to a corner and are surprised at what happens when the ‚Äėva va voom‚Äô button is pressed, and the other for female test drivers.
And to bring things full circle, Nicole and Papa make an appearance, uttering the lines that made them famous. It does seem that the years have not been kind to Nicole and Bob, because there‚Äôs no sign of Mortimer, as Nicole has found herself a new man.
But isn‚Äôt that just what we expected?
Find out more from or book a test drive at the Renault website. Renault’s Twitter account can be found here, and its Facebook here.
Updated March 28, 2013 at 10.56 a.m. GMT with The Delivery film and other highlights
James Bond star Daniel Craig has helped launch the Range Rover Sport in New York City with a drive through Manhattan, revealing the car to a celebrity audience that included former American football player Michael Strahan, Yasmin Le Bon, Zara Phillips, MBE, and Jade Jagger, at Skylight at Moynihan Station on 8th Avenue.
The drive is part of a short film called The Delivery, broadcast live by Land Rover at www.newrangeroversport.com. The Delivery was directed by Jonathan P. B. Taylor, who most recently worked on A Good Day to Die Hard. It followed the journey of the new Range Rover Sport from Solihull to Manhattan, before it was driven by Craig over Manhattan Bridge to Moynihan Station.
Craig drove the earlier Range Rover Sport in his second Bond film, Quantum of Solace, but was also attracted to working with the company because of its connection to the charity SAFE, of which he is a patron. Among other things, SAFE uses mobile street theatre and community programmes to help effect social change in third-world countries.
Jaguar Land Rover says it chose New York for the launch as it sells more units in the US than in any other global market. New York is the car’s best selling city.
The new Sport is no longer based on a Discovery, but has a new platform based around the company’s aluminium architecture, lightweight suspension design and chassis technologies. It was developed alongside the latest Range Rover but JLR claims that 75 per cent of the Sport’s parts are unique to it.
It can be specified with occasional seating for sixth and seventh passengers, again appealing to the US market. The power seats can be folded to leave a flat floor.
The new V6 diesel is 420 kg lighter than the outgoing model, while carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced to 194 g/km.
The exterior design is more muscular and purposeful than the Range Rover presented last year, and some might say it is better balanced. It is positioned between the Range Rover and the smaller Evoque.
It is 62 mm longer than the outgoing Sport, but the wheelbase has been increased by 178 mm‚ÄĒthe overhangs have been shortened to give it more muscular proportions compared to the previous model. At 4,850 mm, it is shorter than other seven-seater SUVs and E-segment saloons, says the company. The drag co-efficient has dropped to 0,34.
Connectivity includes Stolen Vehicle Tracking and a high-bandwidth wifi hotspot can be installed. An optional head-up display is available. Other features include lane departure warning, automatic high-beam assist, and a Wade Sensing feature that provides information on depth when driving through water.
Land Rover said it had set out to create the most capable Range Rover ever, one which would be agile on-road, but unbeaten by its rivals off-road.
In a release, Land Rover Global Brand Director John Edwards noted, ‘We‚Äôve taken ride, handling and agility to another level for Land Rover to deliver a truly rewarding, sporting drive, together with unmatched luxury, capability and versatility.
‚ÄėBuilding on the success of the recently launched flagship Range Rover, the new Range Rover Sport also employs a vast array of new technologies which help to transform its performance, refinement and all round capabilities.’
Again recognizing its client√®le, the wheel sizes range from 19 through to 21 inches.
Suspension is fully independent, with double wishbones at front and multi-link at the rear. Wheel travel is 260 mm at the front and 272 mm at the rear; ground clearance has been increased to 278 mm. Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system selects the most suitable terrain program.
A hybrid diesel with 169 g/km carbon dioxide emissions will follow, but at launch, the Sport has a supercharged five-litre V8 developing 510 PS, and a three-litre diesel developing 292 PS. Three- and 4¬∑4-litre diesels will be added in 2014.
Above, from top Michael Strahan. Yasmin Le Bon. Daniel Craig and SAFE’s Nick Reding. Jade Jagger. Zara Phillips, MBE. Sienna Guillory and Jamie Chung. Thierry Henry. Below More shots of the new Range Rover Sport.
Since Cheryl Cole always gets additional readers for the British tabloids, she’s the subject of further speculation again‚ÄĒthat The X Factor supremo Simon Cowell will offer Cole her old judging job back on the American version of the franchise.
Cole was heavily promoted in the British press when she went to the US for its version of The X Factor in 2011, only to be quietly dumped. One episode had Cole start the show and her replacement, Nicole Scherzinger, end it.
A rift had been reported between Cole and Cowell in the British press in subsequent months, but neither would offer an official comment on what had happened.
Since then, Scherzinger, and her replacement, Britney Spears, have left the show. L. A. Reid is also leaving The X Factor USA.
Cole’s legal team has filed suit against The X Factor USA producers Blue Orbit, claiming she is owed the equivalent of ¬£1¬∑4 million. Blue Orbit claims that Cole lacks standing in the case.
GHD has released another great collection of straighteners in time to brighten up your winter hair days.
The Candy Collection has been inspired by retro pastels of the ‚Äô50s and ‚Äô60s and the current neon brights lighting up runways around the globe. GHD’s original cult item, the GHD IV styler, has been transformed with a colour palette as sweet as candy.
With fresh colours straight from the spring‚Äďsummer 2013 runways, GHD is encouraging girls to indulge in sweet style this summer with three delicious hues: brilliant bright turquoise, dazzling electric violet and sunny lemon yellow.
The GHD Candy Collection is available from approved GHD salons from mid-March.‚ÄĒSopheak Seng, Fashion and Beauty Editor
On March 18, MAC’s Mineralize Moisture SPF 15 foundation (below) becomes available, featuring shea butter, emollients and conditioning extracts. MAC says the combination of powders has an ‘optical blurring effect’ that helps even the skin tone. The foundation, with 18 shades, retails for NZ$75 each, and the 130 Short Duo fibre brush at NZ$90.
Completing the MAC releases, also due on the 18th, is its Mineralize Rich Lipstick line, which the company says is larger in size and has a mineral moist complex for hydration. There are 12 vibrant shades, each retailing at NZ$58.