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The Renault 5 Prototype: Shining a light on the past with the iconic wink

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  • Nicolas Jardin, the Renault 5 Prototype’s exterior designer, talks through how an icon can be reinterpreted
  • First in a series of stories focusing on the 5 Prototype, this edition delves into the concept’s striking lights
  • The design boasts a modern reimagination of one of Renault’s most successful and recognisable models
  • With LED matrix technology and distinctive signature, the Renault 5 Prototype reinterprets a cult car into the future
  • Watch Nicolas Jardin discuss his vision for the Renault 5 Prototype’s lights in the full video


    The Renault 5 Prototype, unveiled in January, makes a clear reference to the original Renault 5 – a cult car from the 1970s – with its iconic shape and striking details. Part of this new design includes a modern interpretation of the original car’s recognisable winking headlights. In the first of this video series, Nicolas Jardin, the prototype’s exterior designer, speaks about how he reinterpreted the famous look of the original Renault 5 in a modern way.

    A key part of the original Renault 5’s cult status was its playful character and design. As early as 1972 – the year it was launched – Renault personified its look in ?Les aventures de Supercar’, the famous advertising cartoon, while also appearing on the roads during the ?Take the wheel’ operation that was in place at the same time. The Renault 5’s most recognisable feature was the set of eyes in the headlights as it drove around ?meeting’ the French people. It’s a familiar look that Nicolas Jardin aimed to reproduce on the Renault 5 Prototype, while making it more modern and bringing it into the present.

    A cult look reimagined
    From the heart of the Technocentre, the site where Groupe Renault concept cars and models are developed, Nicolas Jardin reveals the genesis of the project: “The work on the prototype was not a free subject. It was a work of reinterpretation of the R5 and its projection into the future, to make it a modern object.”

    In reimagining and redesigning the original car’s recognisable headlights with a modern, technological twist, “everything started from the lines, angles and radii of the elements of the front of the original R5. Then, during the sketches, the headlights completely changed in their proportions as well as their design.”

    The rectangular daytime running lights, are positioned lower down the front of the vehicle and are reminiscent of the additional fog lights of the original Renault 5 which fit into the bumper in body colour. Nicolas Jardin said: “Their crystal and three-dimensional treatment and very precise cut evokes the qualities of sharp laser cutting, bringing in the worlds of aerodynamics and aeronautics.”

    Advanced lighting technology
    Finally, modern processes have been utilised in the reinvention of the iconic R5. One of these being the distinctive light units, the dynamic lighting signature uses LED matrix technology to bring the headlights to life. This is demonstrated by the Renault 5 Prototype’s welcome sequence where the new logo illuminates and initiates an animation that extends into the front grille, moving outwards to the main lights that then come to life, as if the car is blinking. “Thanks to the matrix technology and animations in the welcome sequence, we were able to recreate the expressiveness and mischievousness of the original car’s look”, said Nicolas Jardin.

    Nicolas Jardin concludes: “To be a worthy heir to the R5, the car had to become expressive and lively. We have succeeded with the prototype, a true object of modern design, embodying the Renault ?joie de vivre’.”

    The full video can be viewed here.  

    About Groupe Renault
    Groupe Renault is at the forefront of a mobility that is reinventing itself. Strengthened by its alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, and its unique expertise in electrification, Groupe Renault comprises 5 complementary brands - Renault, Dacia, LADA, Alpine and Mobilize - offering sustainable and innovative mobility solutions to its customers. Established in more than 130 countries, it currently employs more than 180,000 people and has sold 2,9 million vehicles in 2020.

    Ready to pursue challenges both on the road and in competition, Groupe Renault is committed to an ambitious transformation that will generate value. This is centred on the development of new technologies and services, and a new range of even more competitive, balanced and electrified vehicles. In line with environmental challenges, the Group’s ambition is to achieve carbon neutrality in Europe by 2050.