Renault 5 GT Turbo (1987)

Renault 5 GT Turbo

The Renault 5 is a supermini produced by the French automaker Renault in two generations between 1972 and 1996. It was sold in the U.S. branded Le Car in the 1970s and 1980s.

First generation (1972–1984)

The Renault 5 was introduced in January 1972. It was Renault's first foray into the supermini market, and its most prominent feature was its styling by Michel Boue (who died before the car's release), which included a steeply sloping rear hatchback and front fascia. Boue had wanted the taillights to go all the way up from the bumper into the C-pillar, in the fashion of the much later Volvo V70, but this was not to be. The lights remained at a more conventional level.

Underneath the skin, it borrowed heavily from the Renault 4, using a longitudinally-mounted engine driving the front wheels with torsion bar suspension. OHV engines were borrowed from the Renault 4, Renault 8 and Renault 12, and ranged from 850 to 1400 cc.

Early R5s used an idiosyncratic dashboard-mounted gearshift in true French style, but this was later dropped in favour of a floor mounted shifter. The other distinctive feature was the door handles, which were formed simply from a cut-out in the door panel and B-pillar. Other versions of the first car included the Renault 5 Alpine (Gordini in the United Kingdom), Alpine/Gordini Turbo, and a four-door sedan version was called the Renault 7 and built by FASA-Renault of Spain.

The Renault Le Car, which was designed exclusively for the North American market and sold by American Motors saw its introduction delayed until 1976 due to high demand in Europe. This choice of name was much-ridiculed among Francophones, as it literally means "the coach". The U.S. version featured a 1297cc engine that produced 55hp, and the dash mounted gear change was substituted for a more conventional floor mounted unit. Sales continued through 1984.

There was also a highly successful rallying version, developed according to Group 4 (later Group B regulations. It was named as the Renault 5 Turbo, but it being mid-engined and rear wheel drive, bore little technical resemblance to the road-going version. The shape and general look of the 5 was maintained using the same lights, and interestingly, it only shared door panels with regard to the body. Driven by Jean Ragnotti, this car won the Monte Carlo Rally for its first race in World Rally Championship.

The original Renault 5 continued to be built in Iran by Pars Khodro, as the Sepand. In 2002, the Sepand was replaced by the P.K, a car that adopted a styling reminiscent of the second generation, but still using the slightly-modified original bodywork. Image:PK-ParsKhodro.jpg

In August 2006, a survey conducted by the Auto Express motoring magazine revealed that just 317 of the 216,699 pre-1984 Renault 5s registered in the UK were still on the road.


  • 0.8 L (845 cc) 8-valve I4; 36 bhp (26 kW); top speed: 120 km/h
  • 1.1 L (1108 cc) 8-valve I4; 45 bhp (33 kW); top speed: 135 km/h
  • 1.3 L (1289 cc) 8-valve I4; 55 bhp (40 kW); top speed: 140 km/h (automatic)
  • 1.3 L (1289 cc) 8-valve I4; 64 bhp (46 kW); top speed: 151 km/h
  • 1.4 L (1397 cc) 8-valve I4; 63 bhp (46 kW); top speed: 142 km/h (automatic)
  • 1.4 L (1397 cc) 8-valve I4; 93 bhp (67 kW); top speed: 175 km/h; 0-100 km/h: 8.9 s
  • 1.4 L (1397 cc) turbo 8-valve I4; 110 bhp (81 kW); top speed: 185 km/h; 0-100 km/h: 9.1 s
  • 1.4 L (1397 cc) turbo 8-valve I4; 160 bhp (118 kW); top speed: 201 km/h; 0-100 km/h: 6.9 s

Second generation (1985–1996)

The second generation Renault 5, often referred to as the Supercinq or Superfive, appeared in 1985. Although the bodyshell was completely new (the platform was based on that of the Renault 9/11), the classic 5 styling touches were left untouched, and was designed by Marcello Gandini. The biggest change was the adoption of a transversely-mounted powertrain taken directly from the 9 and 11, plus a less sophisticated suspension design, which used MacPherson struts.

The second-generation R5 also spawned a panel van version, known as the Renault Extra (In UK/Ireland), Renault Express (France, Spain, Portugal, Italy) or as the Renault Rapid (Mainly in german spoken countries like Germany, Austria), which was intended to replace the R4 F6 which had ceased production in 1986.

A "hot hatch" version, the GT Turbo, was a car beloved of boy racers through the 1980s and 90s. Sporting 115PS (85 kW/113 hp) in the Phase 1, the Phase 2 GT Turbo later brought 5 extra horsepower to the table, a slightly altered torque band and higher reliability. Coming from a simple 1397 cc OHV engine, this was considered quite a feat. Due to strict emission demands in certain European countries, the GT Turbo was not available everywhere. Because of this Renault decided on using the naturally aspirated 1.7 liter from the Renault 19, which utilized multipoint fuel injection. Under the name GTE, it produced 95PS (70 kW/94 hp). Although it wasn't as fast as the turbo model, it featured the exact same interior and exterior looks, as well as an identical suspension and brake setup.

The model was starting to show its age by 1990, when it was effectively replaced by the more modern and better-built Clio, which was an instant sales success across Europe. Production of the R5 was transferred to the Revoz factory in Slovenia when the Clio was launched, and it remained on sale as a budget choice until the car's 24-year production run finally came to an end in 1996.


  • January 1972: Introduction of the Renault 5 in L and TL forms. Both models had rear pull handles, a folding rear seat, grey bumpers, wind up front windows, and a dashboard-mounted gear shift lever. The TL was better equipped, and had a vanity mirror for the front seat passenger, three ashtrays (one in the driver's door armrest and two in the rear), two separate reclining front seats instead of one bench seat, front pull handles, and three stowage pockets.
  • 1973: Gear lever moved from dashboard to floor, between front seats. TL gains heated rear window.
  • 1974: Introduction of the R5 LS, same as R5 TL, plus floor-mounted gear shift lever, stylish wheels, H4 iodine headlights, electric windscreen washers, fully carpeted floor ahead of the front seats, carpeted rear parcel shelf, electronic rev counter, daily totalizer, two-speed ventilation system, illuminated ashtry with cigarette lighter.
  • March 1975: R5 LS renamed R5 TS. The TS had all features of the previous LS, plus new front seats with integrated head restraints, black bumpers, illuminated heater panel, front spoiler, rear wiper, clock, opening rear quarter lights and reversing lights.
  • February 1976: Introduction of the R5 GTL. It had the 1289cc engine from the R5 TS (albeit with the power reduced to 42bhp), the equipment specification of the R5 TL plus grey side protection strips and some features from the R5 TS such as the styled wheel rims, reversing lights, cigarette lighter, illuminated heater panel, electric windscreen washers.
  • 1977: Introduction of the R5 Alpine, similar to R5 TS plus 1397cc engine & 5-speed gearbox.
  • 1977: R5 GTL gets opening rear quarter lights.
  • 1977: R5 L gets new 845cc engine.
  • 1978: Introduction of the R5 Automatic, similar to R5 GTL, but with 1289cc (55bhp) engine, 3-speed automatic transmission, vinyl roof and front seats from TS.
  • 1980: 5-door TL, GTL and Automatic models arrive.
  • 1982: Introduction of the R5 TX.
  • 1985: Introduction of the second-generation Renault 5 3-door Hatchback range in TC, TL, GTL, Automatic, TS and TSE forms. The entry-level TC had the 956cc engine (rated at 42bhp), while the TL had the 1108cc engine (rated at 47bhp), and the GTL, Automatic, TS and TSE had the 1397cc engine (rated at 60bhp for the GTL, 68bhp for the Automatic, and 72bhp for the TS and TSE). The TC and TL had a 4-speed gearbox, while the GTL, TS and TSE had a 5-speed gearbox (which was optional on the TL), and the Automatic had a 3-speed automatic gearbox.

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