Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
ON APRIL 25 1975 the Renault 30TS went on sale in its native France, offering more of everything than any modern Renault, and signalling to the rest of the world that the French factory intended to continue offering highly individual machinery throughout their range.
The 30TS was the first Renault with an engine larger than four cylinders since before World War II. It was one of the first cars (the other two being the Peugeot 604 and Volvo 264) to use the then newly-introduced 2664 cc PRV V6 engine, which was developed jointly between Peugeot, Renault and Volvo; the PRV produced 131 hp (98 kW) and could power the R30 to a top speed of 185 km/h. The vehicle's hatchback styling was highly derivative of the extremely successful Renault 16TS.
Within 14 ft. 10 in. overall length, Engineering Director Yves St. George's 3,500 strong Renault Engineering Centre were able to pack a multitude of features to distinguish the car from the similarly powered but front engine, rear-drive, V6 Peugeots and Volvos. Other obvious competitors were from BMW (520), Ford (Granada), Opel (Commodore), Citroen (CX 2200), BL (18-22).
The V6 engine drove the front wheels via a new manual 4-speed or, equally fresh 3-speed automatic as an option. Power assistance for steering and brakes, electric front windows, 4-wheel disc braking, quadruple quartz iodine headlamps, steel sunroof, electro-magnetic door locks (with central locking), inertia reel seat belts, laminated windscreen and all-round tinted glass; all these items were offered as part of a car that demonstrated solid, careful engineering.
The oversquare (88 mm. x 73 mm.) 90 deg. V6 was restricted to a leisurely 131 b.h.p. at 5,500 r.p.m., though factory spokesmen confirmed when the car was originally released that the unit could give 180 horsepower in comfort. Maximum torque was 148.3 lb. ft. For comparison the iron Ford 3 litre V6 delivered 140 b.h.p. at 5,300 r.p.m. and 175 lb. ft. of torque on 3,000 r.p.m. The alloy V6 engine did its work with a quiet hum. It supplied plenty of smoothly delivered torque from 1,500 to 5,500 r.p.m.
When the 30TS was released many believed the chain-driven overhead camshafts were outdated, given the popular swing to rubber tooth belts. The V-formation for the two valves resting in each of the 8.65:1 compresssion ratio combustion chambers contributed to the unusual cleanliness claimed for the 30's exhaust .
Also unique was the adoption of one single choke and a single twin choke carburetter. Supplied by Solex the single 34 mm. PBIT A choke was augmented by the twin choke when earnest acceleration and consequent engine vacuum activated the larger 35CEEL instrument. A single plate diaphragm clutch of 9.25 in. diameter was encased in weight-saving aluminium, as was the gearbox.
The manual transmission cars had a 3.89:1 ratio (19.87 m.p.h. @ 1.000 r.p.m.) in conjunction with 175 Michelin XAS radial tyres on 14 in. wheels. The 30 TS continued the suspension and interior principles that made the 16 series such comfortllble and flexible "drawing room on wheel" transport, right down to remarkable 7-position seating. The independent suspension utilised two wishbones (single upper, double lower) at the front with roll and ride aids from a single 0.88-in. front roll bar and forward anti-dive link from the upper arm, which also supported the single coil spring/hydraulic dampers. At the rear the shock absorbers were mounted in their own separate turrets, and the springs in the singular wishbone arms. The twin arms were restrained from violent camber changes by the ¾in. rear roll bar and twin trailing links. The result was a fantastic ride for French conditions, but unfortunately it was over-soft for most other countries.
A common problem with the 30TS was brake squeal from the 9.92 in. front ventilated disc brakes, and slightly bigger 10 in. units at the rear. Noise aside, the brakes were both accurate and fade-free. Another highly appreciated feature was magnificent power steering that was coupled to stupendously comfortable seating. Manual iterations had a 3.5 turns lock-to-lock, whereas automatics offered a quicker 3.25 turns.
Information in front of the driver was given by four dials, including a 220 k.p.h. speedometer, 8,000 r.p.m. tachometer and a three-segment gauge to relay water temperature, voltmeter and fuel. The tank held 14 gallons, which the car used at between 18 and 24 m.p.g. in city/country cycles. Overall, the 30 TS was an honest vehicle that provided superb touring comfort, wafting along in standards of silence. Performance was not the best feature, but a kind of long-legged 4,000-5,000 r.p.m. (80-100 m.p.h.) was nicely within the car's capabilities. There was very little left from over 100 m.p.h. to the claimed 115 m.p.h. maximum. The manual change was good, but the car's character was arguably better served by the automatic.