The Matra Murena was a 3-seat sports car produced from 1980 through 1983 by the French engineering group Matra.
The Murena replaced the Matra Bagheera, a very similar vehicle resulting from previous Matra-Simca cooperation, and was largely based on its predecessor. Referred to as project "M551" during development, the Murena employed the base Bagheera structure, but substantial changes were made to address some of the concerns regarding the previous model. The car still had a steel spaceframe with body panels made of fibreglass-polyester, but to counter the rust issues plaguing the Bagheeras, the spaceframe was galvanized. The Murena was actually the first production car to use galvanized steel for all chassis parts. This, coupled with the composite panels, made the car essentially immune to rust, except for the rear trailing arms of the suspension.
The Murena also inherited Bagheera's mid-engined layout together with the sleek hatchback body shape, with the rear hatch allowing access to the engine mounted behind the passenger compartment. The styling was all-new, though, and the body very aerodynamic for its time. A unique feature carried over from the previous model was the seating arrangement - all three seats were placed in one row, with the middle seat folding down to become an armrest.
The engine selection was different, however. The more powerful version employed the 2.2 (Chrysler France engine), which also served as the base engine for the top of the range Talbot Tagora saloon. This engine was also available with the so-called "S-kit" that upgraded its output to 142 bhp - at first, it was a dealer-fitted option, but later it could be ordered straight from the factory.
Production of the Matra Murena was discontinued in 1983, when the Matra factory in Romorantin switched to production of the Renault Espace multi-people carrier.