The world’s first hatchback is turning 60 and to mark the occasion, Renault has taken the wraps off a another cool concept.
It’s teamed up with designer Mathieu Lehanneur to create the SUITE N°4 concept, a tribute to the iconic Renault 4L launched in 1961.
Although marketed as a short station wagon, a minimal rear overhang and single top-hinged rear opening — made it the world’s first mass-produced hatchback.
Manufactured in 28 countries, more than 8 million 4s have been sold in over 100 countries since its launch over 30 years ago.
Renault’s Colour and Trim Design team and Mathieu Lehanneur worked together to create SUITE N°4 which represents the designer’s dream motoring experience — a Renault à vivre both inside and out.
Mathieu Lehanneur’s vision was influenced by the parallel worlds of automobile and architecture.
“SUITE N°4 opens the door to a new kind of mobility that strives to make people live experiences,” he said.
“I wanted to merge the worlds of cars and architecture to create an open-air hotel room.
“Even better than the finest palatial suite, the car is exactly where you want it to be, whether that’s by the sea, in the middle of a field or driving around the city you’ve always dreamed of.”
SUITE N°4 retains the same exterior dimensions and lines as the iconic model, but comes with a twist.
The rear section and hatch have been replaced with polycarbonate windows that provide lighting on a par with that of an artist’s studio.
The transparent solar panels that sit on the roof let light through while helping to charge the battery of the car, which has been retrofitted and now fully electric.
The front of the car sports the same iconic lights, lines and silhouette as the original.
The grille has been treated with polished aluminium to give the car a fluid, dynamic appearance.
The body of the car is coated with three layers of paint to make it look like cement, a material synonymous with modern architecture.
Inside the car Lehanneur decided to use upholstery fabric to give a warm, energetic feel.
The seats and the dashboard are covered with yellow velvet, whereas the backs of the seats are finished with a thick, ribbed chenille fabric for a robust look.
The boot has undergone a complete transformation, featuring a natural fibre floor covering and a wooden drawer that can be removed to provide sheltered seating when the hatch is open.
Like for the 4L back in the day, all of the materials are “made in France” and supplied by high-end Parisian furniture producers.
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