Concept cars are usually dream cars, models which give a glimpse of what we or our children could be driving tomorrow. Not all the concept cars at motorshows become production realities but many of their ideas often get incorporated in future models sold to the public.
With the Talisman concept, Renault has chosen a GT theme that exudes an aura of top performance, control and serenity. While the streamlined silhouette of this 4-seater coupe shouts ‘sportscar’, the emphasis of the concept car was more on the vehicle interior of tomorrow – one which would be comfortable, minimalist and serene.
As Patrick le Quement, Renault’s Senior Vice-President of Corporate Design states: “The Talisman clearly illustrates an idealized vision of how we imagine tomorrow’s car interior should be. We hope that through its proportions, the Talisman will epitomize the eternal GT car. Similarly, the gull-wing doors have been chosen for the magical way they reveal and enhance the interior.” The long gull-wing doors (reminiscent of the classic Mercedes SL and also the Lamborghini Marzal), opens electro-hydraulically to reveal a superbly simple interior, with no centre pillar to hinder access to the cabin.
Technical, spacious and elegant, the Talisman’s cabin brings to mind the world of home furnishing. The eye is immediately drawn to a strip of red leather that seems to levitate in space then unfurls around a central tunnel, upholstered in grey, to form the carbon-structure seats that closely follow the contours of the body. In an elegant curve, it becomes the cabin floor, rising towards the windscreen to lead into the opening movement of the dashboard.
Attached to the front body panel by slender metal beams, the shape of the dashboard resembles that of an aircraft’s wing. It epitomizes simplicity and purity and its elegance is captured in its unique feature — a Tag Heuer clock. In addition to that, the upper section pivots opens to reveal stowage space.
Here, the notion of bare essentials is elevated to an ideal, synonymous with elegance. It is a reminder too that technology must be at our service and that it must not deprive passengers of space. The dashboard and the pedal unit — designed as a single unit — can be electrically adjusted forwards or backwards so that the driver can find the most comfortable driving position. A further advantage of this feature is that rear passengers will always have the same legroom no matter how much space the driver takes. Meanwhile, the cavity formed by the door panels, which follows the shape of the seats, heightens the sensation of comfort and safety.
The four dials on either side of the steering wheel are made from three superposed crystal discs and are set as though in equilibrium. The laser-engraved numerals on the central disc, appear as though suspended in mid-air, giving a ‘3D’ look. Interior lighting in the roof panel provides a dual function, offering four sources of indirect light plus a direct reading light.
Such apparent simplicity, in fact, subtly conceals the complex technology that characterizes the cabin. The leather of the seats is combined with an elastic fabric that hides a pocket of air that inflates and deflates to adjust the seat to the perfect height. No longer would short people find themselves unable to get the right and comfortable seating position.
The Talisman also features a “keyless go” function based on a low-frequency and hands-free badge, which also opens and closes the side doors and boot. The sensors are located under the front wings for the doors and at the rear for the tailgate.
Three cameras relay a panoramic rear view of the outside environment, which is displayed on a multi-function, voice-activated wide screen, located in the upper part of the dashboard. As such, the driver would constantly be aware of what is happening around the car, enhancing safety. This screen also provides information on navigation, the hi-fi system, air-conditioning and the vehicle’s warning and security systems.
The Talisman showcases signals the beginning of a far-reaching philosophy that will characterize the interior of Renault vehicles in the future. Mr le Quement explains this notion, which he proposed to Renault design teams some two years ago, as ‘a form of sensual and emotional ergonomics’.
“Each control feature must suggest its function and encourage people to reach out and use it. This means using materials that are soft to the touch and each shape must be seen as an invitation, while the way each one reacts, must reflect its mechanism. This design principle requires not only that each element be either perfectly ergonomic or perfectly aesthetic, but that it be both at once,” he explains.
Referred to as ‘Touch Design’, it goes beyond questions of appearance. It encompasses the notion of “tactile appeal”, whereby the object encourages passengers and driver to use it. Touch Design is first and foremost an interactive concept that must incorporate the function of each element. Touch Design seeks to make technology an obvious and natural part of the driving experience, using aesthetic interfaces to achieve this goal.
Consequently, the notion of Touch Design is linked to that of “simplexity”, to transform necessarily complex technology into something simple to use. Such “simplexity” can be found in the Talisman’s controls. The soft-leather that envelopes the gear selector adapts perfectly to the shape of the hand so that using the gears becomes a natural extension of their form. Control switches are operated with only a light touch, as there is a supple material under the leather that yields easily to the fingertip. The shape of the hand or finger is sculpted into the steering wheel, giving the latter their “spatula” shape.
Finally, with optimal comfort, practicality and beauty in mind, Renault designers created two stowage cases, attached to rails inside the boot. The stowage cases, perfectly incorporates the notion of Touch Design and they are opened by pressing on a soft, translucent, ergonomic button, moulded with a fingerprint design.
Simplicity is also evident in the Talisman’s exterior design. Marked by sculptural forms and flowing lines, it still retains the fundamental principles of a GT car that is rounded, muscular and beautifully proportioned. Three distinct sections create three facets that add to the steel-bodied car’s overall dynamic profile without taking away from the fluidity and sensuality of its form. The highly distinctive arc shape of the huge side window further reinforces this sensation.
The headlamps, based on fluid optics technology to reflect light, are fashioned from a strip of glass that extends into the top of the front wings. The radiator grille emphasizes the new visual identity of the Renault brand, whose core element is a central dihedron, with the logo emblem mounted in a small diamond-shaped grille located at the centre of the dihedron.
In harmony with the desire to promote a sensation of well-being and spaciousness inside the vehicle, the windscreen, extends into two strips of glass to form the roof panel that becomes the V-shaped rear window.
With the focus on styling, not much is explained about the mechanicals although Renault says the Talisman is a rear-wheel drive car with a 4.5-litre V8 engine whose cooling system is optimized by side extraction outlets. The diffuser situated in the lower part of the rear has been developed to enhance aerodynamic stability.
Length: 4805 mm
Width: 1950 mm
Height: 1380 mm
Wheelbase: 2950 mm