Renault 5 Turbo

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Renault 5 Turbo
AssemblyDieppe, France (Alpine)
DesignerMarc Deschamps
Marcello Gandini at Bertone (interiors)[1]
Body and chassis
ClassSport compact
Body style3-door hatchback
LayoutRMR layout
RelatedRenault 5
Transmission5-speed type 369 manual
Wheelbase2,430 mm (95.7 in)
Length3,660 mm (144.1 in)
Width1,750 mm (68.9 in)
Height1,320 mm (52.0 in)
Curb weight970 kg (2,138 lb)
SuccessorRenault Clio V6 Renault Sport

The Renault 5 Turbo or R5 Turbo is a sport hatchback automobile launched by the French manufacturer Renault at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1980. The car was primarily designed for rallying, but was also sold in a street version.

A total of 4,987 (1,820 Turbo 1 and 3,167 Turbo 2) R5 Turbos were manufactured during the six-year production run.[2]


In response to Lancia's rallying success with the mid-engined Stratos, Renault's Jean Terramorsi, vice-president of production came up with the idea of creating a new sports version of the Renault 5 Alpine supermini.[3] The distinctive new rear bodywork was styled by Marc Deschamps at Bertone, headed by Chief Designer Marcello Gandini.[4] A Renault 5 Alpine was sent to Bertone in October 1977 to be used as a "mannequin."[3] The car's code name was Projet 822.[5]

Although the standard Renault 5 has a front-mounted engine, the 5 Turbo featured a mid-mounted 1,397 cc (1.4 L; 85.3 cu in) Cléon-Fonte with fuel fed by Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection and a Garrett AiResearch T3 turbocharger OHV 2 valves per cylinder Inline-four engine placed behind the driver in mid-body in a modified Renault 5 chassis. In standard form, the engine developed 160 PS (158 hp; 118 kW) at 6000 rpm and maximum torque of 221 N⋅m (163 lb⋅ft) at 3250 rpm.[6]

Though it used a modified body from a standard Renault 5 and was badged a Renault 5, the mechanicals were radically different. The most obvious difference was the rear-wheel drive and rear-mid engine instead of the normal version's front-wheel drive and front-mounted engine. The engineers creating the Turbo used parts from various other Renault models: the rear suspension was derived from that of the rear-engined Renault Alpine A310 V6 while the five-speed manual transmission was the unit from the Renault 30 TX, rotated through 180 degrees. At the time of its launch, it was the most powerful French production car.[7]

The first 400 production 5 Turbos were made to comply with Group 4 homologation to allow the car to compete in international rallies, and were manufactured at the Alpine factory in Dieppe. Many parts later transferred to the Alpine A310, such as the suspension or alloy wheel set.

Renault 5 Turbo 2[edit]

Renault 5 Turbo 2

Once the homologation models were produced, a second version named Turbo 2 was introduced using more standard Renault 5 parts replacing many of the light-alloy components in the original 5 Turbo version, and dropping the specific Bertone seats and dashboard for the interior of the R5 Alpine. Many parts also became dark grey rather than the iconic red or blue.[2] The Turbo 2 was cheaper but had nearly the same levels of performance, with a top speed of 200 km/h (120 mph) and 0–100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.9 seconds.[8] To differentiate it from the Turbo 2, the original 5 Turbo is often referred as "Turbo 1".

Although the Turbo 2 is not known as a Homologation special, 200 cars were made to homologate the car for the new Group B class. Known by the '8221' number in the chassis VIN, these featured an alloy-roof, a larger 1437cc engine, as well as a range of additional aerodynamic and geometry changes which allowed them to homologate the car that would compete against the Lancia Stratos and the Audi Quattro in Group B rally class.

The concept of a mid-engined small Renault returned with the 1998 announcement of the Renault Clio V6.[9]

North America[edit]

Grey Market R5 Turbo 2's in United States

The original plan called for 1,000 Renault 5 Turbo cars to be built to meet the requirements for Group 3 homologation, with an eye to building an additional 3,000 factory U.S. Models for sale in the United States.[10] This did not actually happen.

Instead the vehicle was available to Americans via the burgeoning grey market (1976-1988), in which European street legal cars were converted to U.S. specifications.[11]


In 2004, Sports Car International named the R5 Turbo number nine on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s.


R5 Turbo rally version

The R5 Turbo was conceived with dual intent, promoting the sales of the common R5 and being homologated in the FIA group 3 and 4 categories of the rally championship (today WRC). All the motorsport derivatives were based on the Turbo 1.[citation needed]

The factory pushed the engine output up to 180 PS (132 kW; 178 hp) for the Critérium des Cévennes, 210 PS (154 kW; 207 hp) for the Tour de Corse, and by 1984 as much as 350 PS (257 kW; 345 hp) in the R5 Maxi Turbo. The final Renault 5 Maxi Turbo Superproduction reached 385 PS (283 kW; 380 hp) and won the 1987 French Supertouring Championship that year.[12]

The Renault 5 Turbo competed in the sub-2000 cc category, thanks to the multiplication factor of 1.4 which was applied to turbocharged engines. FISA restricted tire and wheel sizes based on engine size, so for the Maxi Turbo, Renault enlarged to engine to 1527 cc which brought it up to 2138 cc in the eyes of the regulatory agencies - placing it in the 2000–2500 cc category and allowing for the fitment of wider wheels at the expense of a higher minimum weight.[12]

Driven by Jean Ragnotti in 1981, the 5 Turbo won the Monte Carlo Rally on its first outing in the World Rally Championship. The 2WD R5 Turbo soon faced the competition of new Group B four-wheel drive cars that proved faster on dirt.[citation needed][13][14]

WRC victories[edit]

There are several victories throughout the early 1980s in the national championships in France, Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, and Spain, as well as victories in international rallies throughout Europe, with wins in iconic rallies such as Monte Carlo.

After the factory ceased support, it underwent development by many teams and enthusiasts to compete in regional championships and local races in which it was ubiquitous and successful for almost 20 years.[15]

Later, the newly created historical categories allowed these celebrated cars to return to international events and competitions.[16][17]

No. Event Season Driver Co-driver Car
1 Monaco 49ème Rallye Automobile de Monte-Carlo 1981 France Jean Ragnotti France Jean-Marc Andrié Renault 5 Turbo
2 France 26éme Tour de Corse 1982 France Jean Ragnotti France Jean-Marc Andrié Renault 5 Turbo
3 France 29ème Tour De Corse 1985 France Jean Ragnotti France Pierre Thimonier Renault R5 Maxi Turbo
4 Portugal 20º Rallye de Portugal Vinho do Porto 1986 Portugal Joaquim Moutinho Portugal Edgar Fortes Renault 5 Turbo


  1. ^ "Let's give Marc Deschamps what Marcello Gandini doesn't have". Retrieved 5 April 2024.
  2. ^ a b "Octane classic car specs". Archived from the original on 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  3. ^ a b "Marc Deschamps disegna, Bertone Realizza" [Marc Deschamps designs, Bertone builds]. (in Italian). MR Electronics. Archived from the original on 2012-12-31.
  4. ^ Eveleigh, Ian (2008-06-12). "Renault 5 Turbo: Birth of an icon: 1980". Evo. Autovia Ltd. Retrieved 2021-03-31.
  5. ^ Pascal (1983), p. 8
  6. ^ "1983 Renault 5 Turbo 2 specifications". Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  7. ^ Caven, James (1979-12-07). "French Flier". The Evening Times. Glasgow, Scotland. p. 42.
  8. ^ Car Catalogue International 1983, page 79
  9. ^ "Independent 17 October 1998". 1998-10-17. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  10. ^ Pascal (1983), p. 13
  11. ^ Rusz, Joe (December 1978). "Lamborghini Countach S". Road & Track. Newport Beach, CA, USA: CBS Inc. - CBS Publications: 38–41.
  12. ^ a b "La 5 Turbo da corsa" [The 5 Turbo competition models]. (in Italian). MR Electronics. Archived from the original on 2013-01-29.
  13. ^ "Ragnotti drives Renault 5 Turbo 1 (sideways)". Motorsport Network. 2017-11-20. Archived from the original on 2021-01-12.
  14. ^ Ingram, Antony (2019-07-29). "Renault 5 Turbo – review, history, prices and specs". Evo. Autovia Ltd. Retrieved 2021-03-31.
  15. ^ "Renault 5 Maxi Turbo".
  16. ^ "1980 Renault R5 Turbo - Groupe IV Usine Calberson".
  17. ^ "Interview: Renault 5 Turbo Restoration with Olly Melliard / Help & Advice".

Further reading[edit]

  • Pascal, Dominique (December 1983). Renault 5 Turbo (in French). E.R.A. ISBN 2-85120-189-1.
  • Pascal, Dominique (2003-03-05). Renault 5 Turbo: L'école du Groupe B [Renault 5 Turbo: School of Group B] (in French). ETAI. ISBN 978-2-7268-8462-1.

External links[edit]