2003 Renault Avantime 3.0 Privilege


  • Flamboyant, quirky and extremely rare
  • Top specification Privilege V6 model 
  • Comprehensive history including two timing belt changes
  • 3,000 miles since last service 
  • Just two previous registered keepers 
  • Pillarless coupe style and double panoramic glass roof
  • New Michelin tyres all round
  • ULEZ compliant

The Appeal

It seems that gone are the days when a manufacturer has the audacity to manufacture an avant-garde concept car and build it as close to the original penned design as possible. Renault did exactly this though when they challenged Matra to build the Avantime. Renault lost millions of Francs bringing this car to market but maintained their reputation for design flare design and audacity in doing so.
With rear passengers seated six inches higher in the back (aptly named ‘theatre seating’) and an uninterrupted vista through the pillarless sides, this crazy French Coupe delivers a commanding view of the road for everyone onboard along with heaps of thrills to boot.
Based on the third-generation Espace MPV floor pan, the Avantime was a last hurrah for Renault’s close relationship with coachbuilder Matra, who had built the Espace since 1984. The 2002-on ‘Espace 4' was being brought in-house but Renault had a contract with Matra that ran until late 2003. The Avantime, translating to ‘Ahead of Time’, bridged the gap and became a short lived design showcase. 

Thierry Metroz (design project manager) said "we wanted someone walking around the car to be continually astonished”. The unveiling earned Renault huge kudos from motoring aficionados everywhere. As is usually the case with such glorious freestyle projects the Avantime sold in low numbers, but was utterly commendable for its form over function. A true design classic that remained incredibly true to the purity of the design concept.
Built only for 18 months or so, a total of just 452 RHD Avantime’s were sold in the UK. Approximately half were in 2.0-litre turbo guise - the remainder being top of the range 3.0 litre V6 Privilege models with either manual or automatic transmission.
At launch, this was the only car that all three presenters of Top Gear agreed enthusiastically upon… placing it ‘Sub Zero’ on their Cool Wall (ahead of the Aston Martin Vanquish).  UK numbers are minuscule today and excellent cars are few and far between, as the best, top of the range examples, start to find their way into private collections.

The History and Paperwork

  • A very late UK registered car: 1st September 2003
  • Sold new at Davis Renault Sevenoaks to first keeper, who owned the Avantime for 9 years
  • Original Dealership purchase receipt included in the history file
  • Second keeper located in London W2, owned the Avantime for a further 9 years
  • Current registered keeper since February 2021
  • Substantial service history in the form of paper receipts and stamped service booklet
  • Owners book-pack (leather zipper wallet) is full of original booklets and pamphlets (all immaculate)
  • Service booklet has official Quality Certificate, key codes and chassis details, plus 6 x stamped entries
  • Two records of Timing Belt Kit changes… One at 19,772 miles, the second at 64,141 miles
  • New Air Conditioning Compressor Unit & Re-gas (£462.00) in June 2022
  • Six plugs & 3 coils replaced in September 2019
  • Last serviced at 70,812 miles
  • Recent new battery
  • Four new matching Michelin Primacy 3 V6 factory specification tyres fitted in June 2024
  • MOT expires 3rd June 2025 with no advisories
  • Good variety of old MOT’s covering much of the cars life with few advisories
  • Current V5 plus copy of first keeper V5 present in the history file
  • Two keys (plus cubby key)
  • Two private registration numbers since new
  • DVLA issued the current age related number when the current registered keeper purchased the car in 2021

The Interior

  • True to the Paris Salon Concept Car design the sweeping cockpit interior is beautifully appointed
  • Very rare ‘Duo Colour Black/Beige Leather Steering Wheel’ as an optional extra when new
  • Desirable beige ‘Bridge-of-Weir’ leather upholstery is in very good order throughout 
  • Rear seats look little used
  • The front seats have some surface cracks but are still looking very smart
  • Seatbelt plastic base sleeves which are usually a common weakness on these cars are in very good order
  • Kick-plate ‘AVANTIME’ logo is close to pristine on the passenger side and partially worn on the driver side
  • Door cards are in good condition with correct original trim fittings
  • Interior door handles and seat uprights are free from the chips or seat buckle scars that characterise Avantimes
  • Centre-console plastics and switch-gear surrounds are clean and smart
  • The trim is fee from the tacky feel of aged soft plastic coatings often typical of this age of vehicle
  • The soft plastic coatings on the electric window switches have some surface scratches
  • Carpets are bright and remain in very good condition
  • Original beige over-mats present, including the rare full width rear secondary carpet
  • The over-mats are  in very good order which is unusual for light colour floor fabrics
  • Fascia switchgear appears nicely preserved with well kept cubby doors, clips and even the fine vent plastics are all present and correct
  • The dashboard is similar, showing no visible marks and no colour fade
  • Beige plastic trim in even high wear areas such as seat surrounds all present very well
  • Clear dials and controls are all working correctly
  • The beige headlining appears to be original and unmarked
  • ‘Grande Air’ mode button is working and retracts the glass roof and simultaneously drops all four windows to create a pillarless driving experience like no other car
  • The minimalist dash read-outs show everything correctly, with no warning signs
  • Original jack and brace are correctly stowed beneath the rear passenger seat
  • Boot area is in good order and chromed floor loops are still present and un-tarnished
  • A few rub marks on one side of the black painted surface of the inner boot hatch door
  • Umbrella shelf and vast trunk shelf are both present and in good order
  • Door seals and the giant boot seal are all present and correct

The Exterior

  • Stand out design looks great in metallic Mars Red beneath customary silver aluminium roof rails
  • Small light scuff above the tail-pipe and a couple of other very small marks to the low bumper edges
  • A couple of bonnet stone chips touched in
  • Presents very elegantly with no lacquer peel. Overall a car that presents very nicely
  • Silver aluminium roof rails on Avantime’s typically blister but on this car are limited to a few minor veins 
  • There is a coin sized black mark on the silver sky-facing top surface of the opening rear hatch
  • Wing mirror casings show no battle scars
  • Aluminium wing mirror housings can be a model weak spot but look well kept and original on this car
  • 17” Rhodes alloys are specific to the Avantime and these all look very close to pristine 
  • Wheels present immaculately with the fresh Michelin tyres on all corners
  • All four-wheel centre caps are original and in similarly good order
  • Tinted glass looks free of any meaningful scratches, chips or fractures
  • Sills look strong, original and undamaged
  • Lights, front and rear are all in very good condition
  • Avantimes were built with rust-resistant galvanised chassis
  • The underside showed no obvious causes for concern based upon a basic cursory view
  • The correct spare space-saver steel wheel is still present beneath the cars rear deck
  • All drainage channels look clean and free of corrosion
  • All exterior trims and fittings look original, unmodified and good throughout
  • No MOT structural advisories on last test 

The Mechanics

  • 205bhp 2,946cc 3-Litre Renault V6
  • 5-speed automatic gearbox
  • Dipstick check shows correct levels
  • Reported to start effortlessly and settles quickly into a gentle and even idle
  • Vendor tells us there is a healthy sounding engine note from the twin exit exhaust pipes
  • Battery recently replaced and has the original Renault insulation jacket in situ which are often broken or discarded on these cars
  • Clean and bright under the bonnet with no sound-insulation sag 
  • Plenty of original Renault decals and stickers still on view under the bonnet 
  • No mechanical or running gear advisories on last MOT 

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This sale is subject to the Car & Classic Terms and Conditions. By bidding and/or making an offer, you also agree to the following: 
The seller is registered as a private seller which means consumer rights stemming from EU consumer protection law do not come into effect. However, you are still covered by Car & Classic’s own Terms and Conditions.. 
We request that a non-refundable fee  be paid if you are the lucky winning bidder at auction or if your offer is accepted Please refer to our helpful FAQs and T&Cs for specific rates. 
This vehicle is “Sold As Seen”, on an “As Is Where Is’ basis and without warranty. Photos and descriptions are solely for guidance purposes and it's customary to carry out a full inspection of the vehicle prior to purchase for your own peace of mind. 
✓ VAT is included in the buyer's deposit. VAT may or may not be included in the final bid or offer price, as specified in the listing. 
We want a smooth transaction just as much as you do and as such we run all UK-registered cars and motorbikes for sale on Car & Classic through an online HPI check to verify that they show no insurance database markers for damage or theft, and have no finance owing, allowing you to bid with confidence. 
✓ We also check whether vehicles are recorded as being written off as part of an insurance total loss claim at the time an advert is placed on Car & Classic and we helpfully provide write-off category labels (Cat C/D/S/N) for your assistance. However, the presence or absence of a label does not guarantee the vehicle’s status and it is always worthwhile carrying out your own  full vehicle history check before making an offer on a vehicle. 
✓ Buyers are responsible for vehicle collection 
or delivery. Importing vehicles may result in additional customs duties and import taxes so it’s worth checking beforehand.. If requested, we may refer you to a third-party shipping company who can help. For more details and to speak to the team, email [email protected] 

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Auction Details
  • Year 2003
  • Make Renault
  • Model Avantime
  • Colour Red
  • Mileage 73,684 Miles
  • Engine size 3000
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Richmond-upon-Thames
  • County Middlesex
  • Country United Kingdom
  • Auction ends
Bidding history
6 Bids from 5 bidders
  • Christo•••• £6,200 19/07/24
  • D&D £6,000 18/07/24
  • maxus.l•••• £5,500 16/07/24
  • sig99 £5,200 16/07/24
  • Louiswp•••• £5,100 15/07/24
  • sig99 £5,000 15/07/24

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