Renault's technical director Nick Chester has revealed that the car presented in Paris on Wednesday was just a livery car and that the final RS16 will look different.
"It will look similar, but this is a livery car," Chester told reporters during the event.
"It is similar but not quite the same."
Renault's managing director Cyril Abiteboul described the single-seater seen today as a "show" car.
"What you are looking at today is more frankly a show car, to be honest. The car is in production. The fire-up is next week.
"The tests of the car, where the car will be revealed, that will be the proper car. There will be evolution of the package, the bodywork, the front wing, but that is normal F1."
Chester said Renault will use the new RS16 in the first test at Barcelona later this month.
Renault launched its new motorsports programme today ahead of its return to Formula 1 as a works team, having taken over the former Lotus squad.
Lotus a solid base
Chester is optimistic that Renault has a good base to develop on, as last year's Lotus proved quite competitive despite the lack of in-season updates.
"I think we had a good handling car, that the drivers could get the most out of it," he said. "We tried to carry on those characteristics and take them a bit further.
"We have probably lost out a bit with development of this car because we were so constrained for the last part of 2015, so aero development was constrained and that is going to knock on to this year.
"But I hope we will have a base car that has pretty good handling, that the drivers can get the best out of - and we will have to add more development and more aero to try to catch up."
He admitted, however, that the team, which used Mercedes engines last year, had to make some compromises in order to fit the Renault power unit.
"We had to change the chassis design very quickly, so we could not go through the amount of optimisation that we normally go through. So there are some compromises in there.
"They aren't too big, but there are some compromises."
Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble