The Renault 4 is an absolutely wonderful car, the sort of do-anything, classless, charming, and useful little cars that the French seem to have an unusual knack for making. It’s also a car that I think deserves to have a modern re-interpretation, so I was excited to see Renault’s tweet today hinting just that. But after watching the short teaser video, I think there’s something weirder going on. I think Renault is saying they’re making a flying Renault 4, something I’m pretty sure every one of Renault’s focus groups demanded.
“I’d love a modern, perhaps electric R4,” you’ve likely thought to yourself, “but what I really want is a modern electric R4 I can crash right into Lincoln’s nostril on Mount Rushmore.” Then, buddy, boy are you going to be excited to see this:
See what I mean? Lots of flight hints there. Like the name, Air4. And, if you go to Renault’s partner’s site there, The Arsenale, some “brand dedicated to the future of mobility” you’ll see this teaser page:
“Take off?” Those extra lights way on the sides, where they could be defining wingtips? Saying Renault and Arsenale “don’t need roads” for a car that has nothing to do with Back to the Future? They’re talking flying machines.
I think it’s possible what we’ll see on November 26th will be some extensively resto-modded R4, because this detail picture looks like it has some original R4 bodywork:
Those are the taillights we’re looking at, and they seem to be fun extruded side profiles of the original lights, just made ultra minimalistic. The old-school license plate light housing appears to be visible there, suggesting at least some original bodywork.
This shot seems to show an update to the ribbed lower body cladding used on late R4s, along with the rear wheelarch and cargo area windows, though all the pillars look much thicker.
And, is this some kind of propeller?
What bothers me about all of this is that I’m afraid all the flying car bullshit will take away from the fundamentally good idea of a new R4.
Flying cars are almost always bullshit that nobody has really thought through, and they’re always, perpetually two years away. Maybe this one will be different? I mean, hopefully whatever it is will at least work as a car. And it’s not like there’s no appeal to getting in a charming little R4 and leaping up into the sky.
But, realistically, flying cars bring all kinds of hassle, and I don’t want that in the way of a cool new R4.
So, I guess we’ll see what the hell this all is on November 26?