Renault 5

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Renault 5

1972 - 1996
4 cyl.
845/128 /1397 cc
63 bhp
4 spd. man
Top Speed:
120+ km/h
Number Built:
1 star
Renault 5
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1


The Renault 5 was introduced in January 1972. It was Renault's first supermini, 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 Fiat Punto and Volvo 850 Estate / Wagon, but 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 16, and ranged from 850 to 1400 cc. Early R5s used a dashboard-mounted gearshift (the gearbox is in front of the engine), but this was later dropped in favour of a floor mounted shifter. Door handles were formed by a cut-out in the door panel and B-pillar.

Other versions of the first generation 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.

“Le Car” version

The Renault "Le Car" was marketed in North America by American Motors (AMC) where it competed against other front wheel drive subcompacts such the Honda Civic (which was also introduced in 1972) and the newly introduced Volkswagen Rabbit. The American introduction was delayed until 1976. The Le Car name was ridiculed among French speaking people, as the title literally means "the Coach (vehicle)". The U.S. version featured a 1397 cc engine that produced 55 hp (41 kW), and a more conventional floor-mounted shifter was substituted for the dash-mounted unit. Sales continued through 1984.

Global markets

The original Renault 5 continued in production in Iran by SAIPA and 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. The P.K has been replaced by the New P.K which is a little changed in body style. The Renault 5 was one of the first French-made cars to achieve sales success on the British market. Between 1972 and 1984, 216,199 examples of the Renault 5 were sold.

Sporting Versions

The Renault 5 in its 1.4 litre Alpine version was raced in Group 2, its most notable result was a second and first in the 1977 Monte-Carlo rally despite a serious handicap in power against other works cars. For 1978, a rally Group 4 (later Group B) version was introduced. It was named as the Renault 5 Turbo, but being mid-engined and rear wheel drive, this car bore little technical resemblance to the road-going version. Though retaining the shape and general look of the 5, only the door panels were shared with the standard version. Driven by Jean Ragnotti, this car won the Monte Carlo Rally for its first race in World Rally Championship. The 2WD R5 turbo soon had to face the competition of new 4WD cars that proved to be faster on dirt, however it remained among the fastest of its era on tarmac.

Le Sports Car

When it comes to economy, Le Car can compete with just about any small car. But when it comes to performance not many small cars can compete with Le Car. Le Car may not look like a sports car. Until you check the features. They're the most sophisticated that you'll find on any car at any price.

Front-wheel drive, independent suspension and Michelin steel-belted radials are all standard (Cars like the Volkswagen Rabbit, Ford Fiesta, Honda Civic and Chevette don't offer this combination of features as standard equipment. And suprisingly, neither do cars like MGB, Triumph TR7, Fiat 124 and Porsche 924.

The result is a car that will handle and corner about as fast as anyone would really care to. of course what we promise in our ads we prove on the track. Le Car so dominated its class in racing in 1977 that Sports Car Magazine wrote "Showroom Stock Class C is spelled R-E-N-A-U-L-T". Le Car gets 41 mpg highway / 26 mpg city according to 1978 EPA figures. Remember these mileage figures are estimates. The actual mileage you get will vary depending on the type of driving you do, your driving habits, your car's condition and optional equipment.

A level of comfort unheard of in small, sporty cars. Unlike other cars in its class, Le Car recognizes the fact that people have to ride in it. Le Car offers a ride that's so smooth critics have called it "unbelievable" for a car of its size. And it has wide, comfortable front bucket seats (fully reclining in the GTL deluxe). What's more, in proportion to its exterior length, Le Car has more interior space than any other car on the road.

A track record with owners, too. In Europe, where people drive with a passion, nearly 2 million people drive Le Car. (That's more than Fiesta and Rabbit combined.) And in America, Le Car sales have more than doubled in just one year. What's more, three separate surveys showed that Le Car owner satisfaction is at an incredible 95%. le car prices start at only $3630*. And that includes one more feature you won't find in every sports car. A back seat.

Renault 5 Turbo

In 1980 Renault put their little mid-engined turbo masterpiece on the French market at NF16,000 (which translated to about A$25K at the time) and were claiming that no other car with such a modest engine capacity (1397 cm3) offered such a performance. A top speed of more than 200 km/h (124 mph) was claimed, as well as a 0-100 km/h in 6.9 sec., and a standing kilometre in 28.6 sec. The nationalised French company is understandably making capital of the fact the entire configuration stemmed from their involvement in Formula 1 and sports car racing expertise, and from the enormous knowledge and expertise they have gained from their participation over the previous years.

Although mid-engined and rear-driven, the bodywork had something of the appearance of a Ranault '5' front-drive hatchback, so the blown 1.4-litre two-seater was designated '6 Turbo'. With a maximum power-output of 119.31 kW (160 bhp) at 6000 rpm, and a torque figure 207.866 Nm (1 bb lb. ft.) at 3200 rpm, it was a real blaster but the rally competition version with which Renault mounted their assault on the World Championship was equipped with a blistering 186 kW (2b0 bhp) version of the pushrod ohv, cast iron block motor. In spite of the searing get-up-and-go the production version Renault claimed city fuel consumption (98 actane petrol required) of 9.41 1/100 km (30 mpg) and a 7.79 1/100 km (36.7 mpg) figure at a sustained 90 km/h.

The familiar little front-drive '6' (which was a four-seater with a folding rear floor and bags of carrying capacity) was produced at the rate of 2400 a day and was in fact France's best-selling car, but the '5 Turbo' (which had a rear hatch and space for light luggage, plus room in the front 'bonnet' for the spare wheel and small travel bag) was being made at the 'Alpine' works near Dieppe at the rate of five a day. The five-speed gearbox was from the Renault 30TX, front suspension derived from the '6 Gordini', all four wheels had 260 mm disc brakes with power assistance, kerb weight was 969 kg (2137 lb) and the twin fuel tanks located beneath the seats had a total capacity of 93 litres (20.6 galls Imp) endowing the car with a range of around 966 km (600 miles).

The '5 Turbo' was initially marketed in two colours, a metallic Pomegranate Red, and Olympian Blue. In November 1980 exports began to Germany and Italy, extending to Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland by the beginning of 1981. During its production run the Renault 5 Turbo was made in many guises, eventually culminating with the Renault 5 Maxi Turbo. This car had up to 400 bhp (298 kW/406 PS), all produced from a slightly enlarged and highly modified version of the original 1397cc Renault 5 engine.

Renault 5 Alpine (Renault 5 Gordini in the UK) / Renault 5 Alpine Turbo (Renault 5 Gordini Turbo in the UK)

Many confuse the different versions of the Renault 5 Turbo, often grouping them all under the common moniker "Renault 5 Turbo". The "Renault 5 Gordini Turbo", referenced above, is the front-engined predecessor to the "Renault 5 GT Turbo". The "Renault 5 Turbo", "Renault 5 Turbo 2" and variants are the mid-engined versions with the wide wheel-arches (which are so often copied with poor-quality bodykits on second-generation Renault 5's).

Renault R5 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 unchanged; styling was the work of 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 Germany and Austria). This car was intended to replace the R4 F6 panel van, production of which had ceased in 1986.

A "hot hatch" version, the GT Turbo developed 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 to use the naturally aspirated 1.7 litre from the Renault 19, which utilized multipoint fuel injection. Under the name GTE, it produced 95 PS (70 kW/94 hp). Although not as fast as the turbo model, it featured the same interior and exterior appearance, as well as identical suspension and brakes.

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 called the Campus until the car's 24-year production run finally came to an end in 1996. The Campus name was revived in 2005 with the Renault Clio II. The Renault Clio II remains in production alongside the Renault Clio III, as the R5 did with the first Renault Clio.

Renault R5 Engine Capacity Chart




Top Speed

Performance 0-100 km/h

0.8 Litre 8-valve L4

845 cc

36 bhp (26 kW)

120 km/h (75 mph)


1.1 Litre 8-valve L4

1108 cc

45 bhp (33 kW)

135 km/h (84 mph)


1.3 Litre 8-valve L4

1289 cc

55 bhp (40 kW)

140 km/h (87 mph) (auto)


1.3 Litre 8-valve L4

1289 cc

64 bhp (46 kW)
151 km/h (94 mph)

1.4 Litre 8-valve L4

1397 cc

63 bhp (46 kW)
142 km/h (88 mph) (auto)

1.4 Litre 8-valve Turbo L4

1397 cc

110 bhp (81 kW)
185 km/h (115 mph)
9.1 s

1.4 Litre 8-valve Turbo L4

1397 cc

160 bhp (118 kW)
201 km/h (125 mph)
6.9 s

1.7 Litre 8-valve L4

1721 cc

93 bhp (67 kW)
175 km/h (109 mph)
8.9 s

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Also See:

Renault 5 Brochure
Renault 5 Turbo
Louis Renault
The History of Renault
Renault Car Commercials
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