Renault 11 Turbo (1986)

Renault 11 Turbo

The Renault 9 and Renault 11 were compact automobiles produced by the French car manufacturer Renault between 1982 and 1988. On the North American market the cars were known as the Renault Alliance and Renault Encore respectively.

The 9 was a 4-door sedan, launched in 1982, and was winner of the European Car of the Year award of the same year. A version of the 9 was produced by American Motors in the United States, where it was known as the Renault Alliance (although it also bore a discreet AMC badge on its rear window). The Alliance appeared on Car and Driver's Ten Best list for 1983, and was the 1983 Motor Trend Car of the Year. Besides the 4-door, the Alliance was offered as a 2-door sedan, and (from 1984 on) a convertible. The 11 was a 3- or 5-door hatchback, and launched in late 1983. The US version was known as the Renault Encore. Although the two cars had different names, and silhouettes, they were in fact identical under the skin, and were intended to jointly replace the older Renault 14. The 11 was also distinguishable from the 9 by its front end, which featured the square twin headlights already used on the Alliance in North America. The 9 also received this new front end in 1984 and both models were facelifted for a final time with the same nose and interior upgrades for the 1987 model year.

Both cars were somewhat unremarkable, using Renault's archaic C-type overhead valve engines in 1.1 L or 1.4 L format, and a basic suspension design which resulted in a somewhat ordinary driving experience. The exception was the 9 Turbo and the 11 Turbo, which used the turbocharged engine from the Renault 5. Although heavier, the power from the engine was enough to ensure higher performance, thanks to its 115 hp DIN (85 kW). The newer F-type engine which had been developed in collaboration with Volvo appeared in later years in 1.7 L guise, powering the upmarket TXE and GTX versions. The Alliance and Encore, while comparatively underpowered, had a definite advantage in ride and handling against other small cars available in America at the time and even had their own SCCA spec-racing series, the Alliance Cup.

The Renault 9 and 11 continued in production until 1988, when the Renault 19 was launched as a replacement. The Alliance and Encore (renamed the Alliance Hatchback from 1986 onwards) were dropped after Chrysler's buyout of AMC in 1987. The Alliance did get one last hurrah in the American marketplace in 1987 with the one-year-only GTA coupe and convertible. These had a higher-performance 2.0 L engine, sport suspension, an aerodynamic body kit, Ronal wheels, and other "sporting" upgrades. Made in limited quantities, the GTA is something of a collector's item today. The failure of the Renault brass to recognize the American demand for more hp earlier on in the Alliance's run is considered one of the contributing factors to American Motors' downfall.

The 11 did have one moment of movie stardom in the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill, where Bond steals a Renault 11 taxi from a Parisian cab driver and uses it to pursue an assassin (portrayed by Grace Jones). In a sequence coordinated by famed French stuntman Rémy Julienne, the car has its roof torn off in the resulting car chase, and is then chopped in half in a collision with another car (a Renault 20).

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