In life, you sometimes learn about obscure and relatively forgotten niche cars that captivate your heart and make you fall in love with them. This is no exception.
In the early 90s, if you wanted a fast and comfortable executive car, odds are you’d end up with something along the lines of a BMW M5 or Mercedes 500E.
If you wanted something less expensive, you could swing for a 535i or a 400E. Either way, the normally accepted answer to the midsize executive car question was limited to the darlings of the two most important German luxury manufacturers.
In 1993, some French company called Renault started making an adorable future meme called the Twingo, but that’s another story for another day. In the shadow of the Twingo, a new fast executive car was born from what was their normal midsize sedan, the Safrane.
Dubbed the Safrane Biturbo, it had been sent to Hartge in 3.0 V6 guise for tuning and modification. The result was two KKK turbochargers slapped onto the PRV V6 and a very nice bodykit with new wheels. The Biturbo produced a then-impressive 262 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, which were numbers that put it in the same league as the aforementioned Teutonic sedans. It hit 60 in just 6.8 seconds and pulled hard all the way to a top speed of 155 mph.
Unfortunately, buyers of cars in this segment seemed to have preferred the more powerful 535i, 540i, 400E, and E420 over the Safrane Biturbo. After a year in production, the plug was pulled after only 806 units were ever made. One of them was even modified by Heuliez into a wagon bodystyle dubbed the Long Cours.
I understand that we all have penchants for weird French cars around here, so I figured I’d share mine. As much as everyone here associates me with the Twingo, this is the one French car I’ll take over a Twong in a heartbeat. It oozes some sort of presence that draws me to it and permanently left a lasting impression in my heart and mind. I look forward to importing one in the next few years whenever I start working after college. It’s something that makes me want to work harder to have the satisfaction of seeing my very own Safrane Biturbo parked in my driveway next to the inevitable F150.
Here’s to liking cars just as niche and obscure as yourself. I know the Safrane isn’t for everyone, but it’s something so close and dear to my own heart that I can’t help but love it with every fiber of my being. I would have one over a Twingo. There. I said it.