Renault 25 V6 Injection (1988)

Renault 25 V6 Injection

The Renault 25 is an executive car produced by the French automaker Renault from 1983 to 1992. The most luxurious and upmarket Renault ever at the time, it placed second in the 1985 European Car of the Year contest. Though the 25 suffered from reliability problems (particularly in models built before the car's 1988 revamp) it was consistently a reasonably good seller in its native France, despite failing to challenge the dominance of German brands in the executive car sector in the rest of the European markets. All 25s were built in Sandouville, near Le Havre, France.


Introduced in late 1983 as a 1984 model, the Renault 25 was a large step forward in nearly every aspect from the Renault 20 / Renault 30 range it was replacing. Its five-door liftback body was penned by designer Robert Opron of Citroën SM fame, and the unconventional style (the wraparound rear window was its most famous feature) was aimed at giving the car a notchback look in order to overcome customer preference outside France for formal sedans in the segment.

The 25 was one of the first cars designed from the start for aerodynamic efficiency (Drag coefficient 0.31) — a key factor in improving fuel economy. The TS model briefly held the unofficial title of "world's most aerodynamic mass-production car" with a Cd (drag coefficient) of 0.28, and at its launch the 25 was easily the best in its class for fuel economy.

All Renault 25 models were front-wheel drive, with 4 or 6-cylinder engines mounted longitudinally forward of the front axle. The 25's performance was above average for its class, with the V6 Turbo specification a match for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5-Series.

The 25 was praised for its ride comfort and spirited handling (despite slight understeer, and torque steer on V6 Turbo models). A newly designed manual transmission drew unanimous praise for its precision and smoothness, and though the futuristic interior designed by Italian designer Marcello Gandini (of Lamborghini fame) was controversial, the 25 was highly regarded for its quiet, spacious and well-lit passenger compartment.

Equipment levels were high and set new standards for French cars, the 25 including among other features, an express-up and down feature on the driver's power window, voice alerts, and one of the world's first steering-wheel-mounted stereo controls. For the first time since World War II, Renault had a realistic chance of breaking into the full-size market segment outside of France.

Build quality problems

This grand vision was shattered by abysmal build quality in the 25's first three years of existence. Repeated, unpredictable breakdowns and electronic "gremlins," combined with indifferent or uncooperative customer service, drove non-French customers away from the car and back to proven German brands. Back home, on the other hand, a strong customer attitude of national preference gave Renault the vital breathing space it needed to turn the 25's fortunes around. The arrivals at the helm of Renault of Georges Besse and Raymond Lévy (the latter famously acknowledging quality issues by stating in a public interview that his company-issued 25 was in the shop once a month) marked the turning point in terms of build quality and brought at last the market's gaze back to the car's many strengths. Though it was too late to turn the situation around outside France, the 25 sold very well on the domestic market.


A major facelift in 1988 (new front end, taillights, interior materials, and front suspension) and the introduction of more powerful engines enabled the 25 to hold its own against new domestic competitors (Peugeot 605 and Citroën XM) introduced in 1989. Production of the 25 stopped in 1992 to make way for the Renault Safrane but sales were still solid, particularly for 4-cylinder gasoline-fueled versions. In view of the poor market performance of the 25's successors (Safrane, Avantime, Vel Satis), it can be said that the 25 may have been Renault's best full-size car of the post-World War II era.

25 in the used car market

The 25 was sought after as a used car in France throughout the 1990s, thanks to the body's good resistance to rust (a first on a Renault) and the above-average longevity of all 4-cylinder engines. Older model years may show deficiencies in chassis stiffness, exemplified by the difficult closing of the rear doors or windshield cracking when a jack is used.

Trim levels

French-market specifications

  • Level 1: Power steering, front power windows, and sound system optional. No side body cladding or rear-window wiper. Single-beam headlights.
  • Level 2: Power steering, front power windows, 2-speaker stereo, side body cladding, and rear-window wiper standard. 2 x 6 W sound system with steering-wheel-mounted controls (specially designed by Philips for this model) optional.
  • Level 3: Front and rear power windows, power mirrors, and 2 x 6 W Philips sound system standard. Trip computer and digital fuel gauge on gasoline versions. Anti-lock brakes, air conditioning, and 4 x 20 W Philips sound system with steering-wheel-mounted controls optional.
  • Level 4: 4 x 20 W Philips sound system and express-up/down driver's power window standard. Dual-beam headlights.
  • Level 5: Air conditioning, leather interior, anti-lock brakes, 7-way power front seats, adjustable rear headrests, and elm wood inserts (door panels, gear shift knob) standard.


(French-market specifications unless indicated otherwise. All hp metric.)

Petrol engines

  • 2.0 L carbureted 8v I4 103 hp TS (1984-92, trim level 1) and GTS (1984-92, trim level 2). Top speed: 190 km/h (118 mph)
  • 2.0 L fuel-injected 8v I4 120 hp (107 with catalytic converter on export versions)

TX (1987-88, trim level 2; 1989-92, trim level 3) and TXE (1990-92, trim level 4) Top speed: 195 km/h (122 mph)

  • 2.0 L fuel-injected 12v I4 140 hp TI (1991-92, trim level 3) and TXI (1990-92, trim level 4) Top speed: 205 km/h (128 mph)
  • 2.2 L fuel-injected 8v I4 123 hp (110 with catalytic converter on export versions)

GTX (1984-89 on all markets, trim level 3; 1990-92 for export only, trim level 4) Top speed: 195 km/h (122 mph)

  • 2.7 L fuel-injected 12v V6 144 hp V6 Injection (1984-88, trim level 4) Top speed: 201 km/h (126 mph)
  • 2.8 L fuel-injected 12v V6 160 hp (153 with catalytic converter after 1990)

TX-V6 (1991-92, trim level 3), V6 Injection (1989-92, trim level 4), and Baccara (1989-92, trim level 5) Top speed: 210 km/h (131 mph)

  • 2.5 L fuel-injected 12v V6 turbo 182 hp V6 Turbo (1985-90, trim level 4 with model-specific steering wheel, rims, and grille until 1989). Top speed: 225 km/h (140 mph)
  • 2.5 L fuel-injected 12v V6 turbo 205 hp V6 Turbo (1990-92, trim level 4) and V6 Turbo Baccara (1990-92, trim level 5) Top speed: 230 km/h (143 mph)

Diesel engines

  • 2.1 L 8v I4 65 hp TD (1984-88, trim level 1) and GTD (1984-92, trim level 2) Top speed: 155 km/h (96 mph)
  • 2.1 L 8v I4 88 hp Turbo-D (1984-92, trim level 3) and Turbo-DX (1984-92, trim level 4 except no express-up/down driver window before 1989) Top speed: 172 km/h (107 mph)

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