The battery-powered AIR4 can fly horizontally at a top speed of 58 mph, and can reach an altitude of 2300 feet.
The shell of the AIR4 is made out of carbon fiber, with TheArsenale having given the original design a makeover instead of using a 4L bodyshell.
By now we've seen plenty of classic cars get converted to EV power, but we haven't really seen a classic car get turned into a flying car. For the 60th anniversary of the Renault 4, the automaker teamed up with design hub TheArsenale to create a functional, flying version of the vintage four-door hatchback.
The effort, unfortunately, did not involve using a vintage Renault 4—a similar body was instead formed out of carbon fiber to increase rigidity, keeping most of the recognizable design elements of the original while skipping features such as opening doors. The driver can simply lift up the entire shell of the body, hinged at the front, to enter and take a seat, with the AIR4 using four two-bladed propellers to achieve lift drawing juice from 22,000-mAh lithium-polymer batteries with a total capacity of 90,000 mAh.
"After a year-long of celebration we wanted to create something unconventional to close up the 60th anniversary of 4L," said Renault Brand Global Marketing Director Arnaud Belloni. "This collaboration with TheArsenale was a natural fit. The flying show car AIR4 is something unseen yet and a wink to how this icon could look like in another 60 years."
Just how fast is the AIR4?
The automaker says that the concept can fly horizontally at 26 meters per second (58 mph) with a 45-degree inclination, and can climb at a rate of 14 meters per second (31 mph). The concept is also said to be able to fly as high as 700 meters, which is about four tenths of a mile, but that altitude is likely limited by some subjective factors. For safety, the concept is confined to a climb rate of 4 meters per second (9 mph).
"Drawing on generative design techniques using artificial intelligence, TheArsenale's engineers were able to test terabytes of data to improve and fine-tune the designers' ideas, even before starting the first real-world trials," the automaker says.
Perhaps the most crucial metric is the maximum length of flight time for this car-sized drone, lest it run out of juice at a particularly inopportune time. Renault hasn't mentioned just how long the AIR4 can stay airborne in a mode that uses the least power, but as we've seen with such engineering exercises, it's rarely over half an hour.
While the concept of a full-size Renault AIR4 sounds a bit expensive, with all that carbon fiber, we'd settle for a 1:18 scale version of this as a drone—that's perhaps the main marketing opportunity here just ahead of the holidays. In fact, that's something you could make yourself out of a small drone, as soon as you find a plastic kit of the original 4L online.