Renault Fuego

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Renault Fuego
Renault Fuego front 20080123.jpg
Facelifted Renault Fuego 2.2
Manufacturer Renault
  • 1980–1986 (Europe)
  • 1982–1992 (South America)
Designer Robert Opron
Body and chassis
Class Sport compact
Body style 3-door coupé
Layout FF layout
Related Renault 18
Wheelbase 2,443 mm (96.2 in)
Length 4,358 mm (171.6 in)
Width 1,692 mm (66.6 in)
Height 1,315 mm (51.8 in)
1981 Renault Fuego GTX 2.0
Renault Fuego TS 1.6
English Renault Fuego ad

The Renault Fuego ("Fire" in Spanish) is a sport compact car that was produced by French automaker Renault from 1980 to 1992, replacing the Renault 15 and 17 coupés of the 1970s. It was marketed in the United States by American Motors Corporation (AMC), and was also assembled in several countries in South America.


The Fuego's exterior was designed by Michel Jardin,[1] working under Robert Opron (who previously designed the Citroën SM, Citroën GS, Citroën CX in the 1970s, and then followed with the Renault 25 in 1984).

The Renault Fuego was heavily based on the Renault 18, sharing its floorpan and drivetrain, but featuring a new front suspension design developed from the larger Renault 20/30. The design kept the familiar double wishbone layout common with the Renault 18 but no parts were interchangeable and the design incorporated negative scrub radius geometry. The new suspension design would later be introduced in the facelifted Renault 18, and with minor refinements (larger bushings, etc.), it was used in the Renault 25. In 1984, the Fuego dashboard was added to the facelifted R18. European production continued into 1986 (to 1985 in France and 1986 in Spain), while Renault Argentina produced the Fuego from 1982 until finally ending production in 1995 with the 2.2-litre "GTA Max" (the final phase III facelift introduced in 1990).

It was the first mass-produced four-seat sports model to be designed in a wind tunnel.[2] The resulting drag coefficient (Cd) factor of 0.32-0.35 depending on model and year. In October 1982, the Turbo Diesel model was classified as the then-fastest diesel car in the world with a top speed of 180 km/h.

The Fuego was the first car to have a remote keyless system with central locking that was available from the 1983 model year (from October 1982).[3] The system was invented by Frenchman Paul Lipschutz (hence the name PLIP remote which is still used in Europe), and later introduced on other Renault models. The Fuego was also the first car to have steering wheel mounted satellite controls for the audio system (European LHD GTX and Turbo from October 1983).[citation needed] This feature became popularised on the new 1984 model Renault 25.

A convertible version trimmed with a fine leather interior was unveiled by the French coachbuilder Heuliez in 1982, but never made it to production.[4] The R11/Alliance convertible taking its place.


European model variants ran as follows: 1.4-litre TL, GTL; 1.6-litre TS, GTS (manual and automatic transmissions); 2.0-litre TX, and GTX (manual and automatic transmissions). A 2.1-litre Turbo Diesel was also produced for LHD European markets in the 1982-84 period. The Fuego Turbo (manual transmission only) was added in 1983 to coincide with the midlife facelift. This facelift included a new front grille, plastic trim on the bumpers, revised dashboard on LHD models, new wheel design, modernised interior trim and fabrics (brown/sepia (coffee brown) and black/ash (grey) with striped velour for the Turbo, and ash or sepia for the other models sold in European specification. Interior colour now depended on exterior colour, eliminating the large choice of customised options for the earlier models. The facelifted GTX was also offered with the 2.2litre EFI engine from the Renault 25 in certain LHD markets (generally where the Fuego Turbo was not sold). In the United States, the Fuego was offered with a 1.6-litre turbocharged or normally aspirated version in 1982 and 1983; for 1984 and 1985 it was offered with a 2.2-litre engine.

The Fuego became the number one selling coupé in Europe during the years 1980 through 1982. The official Renault website states that a total of 265,367 Fuegos were produced. In France (thus, excluding Argentina and Spain) the number produced from 1980 to 1985 was 226,583.[5]

While being reasonably well specified for a vehicle of that time, the Fuego was also available with a number of options including leather upholstery, multi-function trip computer, cruise control, air-conditioning (either factory fitted or a dealer installed option with thermostat control), and a full length Webasto electric fabric sunroof.

The Fuego was sold in the United States through American Motors (AMC) dealers from 1982 to 1985 inclusive. It was "a nicely executed sports coupe" and was to be Renault's "halo" car.[6] The car featured distinctive styling, comfort for four passengers, delivered superior fuel economy (the U.S. EPA rated it at 39 mpg‑US (6.0 L/100 km; 47 mpg‑imp) in the highway), economical to purchase (base price of $8,495 at its introduction), and the model received good reviews in the automotive media.[7] However, it did not achieve high sales and turn Renault's fortunes around in the United States.[7] By 1984, AMC dealers were eligible for rebates of $300 and $1,000, respectively, on each imported Renault Fuego and Fuego Turbo model they sold.[8] The American "Federalisation" of the vehicle received negative reactions from the original design team due to the enlarged bumpers, sealed beam headlights, and Americanised colour/trim choices.

Renault sold the Fuego in the UK, aiming it at Opel Manta and Ford Capri buyers, where it became the top selling coupé during 1981-82, but sales fell off before finally ending in 1986 with just the GTS and Turbo as the two sole models.

The Fuego was not directly replaced by another model in the Renault range. A Fuego II was planned, similarly styled as the new Renault Alpine GTA, but the development of the new model was cancelled at the last minute due to Renault's financial problems and the falling sales of sports coupés in general at that time.


  • February 1980 - Introduction of the Fuego three-door coupé. Available as TL and GTL with 1,397 cc engine (rated at 64 PS (47 kW; 63 hp), with manual choke), and GTS with 1,647 cc engine (rated at 96 PS (71 kW; 95 hp), with automatic choke), with 4-speed manual gearbox on TL and GTL, 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic gearbox on GTS. TL has basic equipment level with 155 SR 13 tires, heated rear window, rear fog light, split/fold rear seat, and cloth upholstery. The GTL adds 175/70 13 tires, electric front windows, tachometer, height-adjustable steering wheel, front head restraints, analog clock, wheel covers, remote-adjustable drivers door mirror, laminated windscreen, opening rear quarter windows, H4 headlights, pre-installed radio kit, and velour upholstery. The GTS adds engine oil level gauge, power-assisted steering, and optional 3-speed automatic transmission.
  • 1981 - Fuel reserve warning light standard on all models. GTS obtained modified gearbox.
  • 1981 - Introduction of the TX and GTX with 1,995 cc engine (rated at 110 PS or 81 kW or 108 hp) and five-speed manual gearbox. TX has same specification as GTS. GTX as GTS and TX, plus rear wash/wipe, front fog lights, headlamp wash/wipe, 14-inch alloy wheels (185/65 HR14), leather on the steering wheel rim, gearlever gaiter, and handbrake lever gaiter, as well as digital clock, passenger side door mirror, bronze tinted windows, luggage cover, and airhorn.[9] The optional three-speed automatic transmission now available on the 2-litre TX rather than in the 1.6-litre, beginning in September 1981.[10]
  • 1982 - The GTL is upgraded to a 5-speed gearbox. GTS gains electronic ignition. GTS, TX (depending on country), and GTX gain remote central locking. The 2.1 L Turbo Diesel is introduced to certain LHD European markets. The 1.6 L fuel-injected and turbo versions are introduced in the United States through Renault/American Motors dealers.
  • 1983 - The GTL gains economy tune 73 PS (54 kW; 72 hp) 1,647 cc engine, 5-speed gearbox.
  • 1984 - the new model year features a facelift with new grille, bumpers, wheel design, and interior trim (as well as a new look dashboard on LHD vehicles). A limited production run of Turbos fitted with EFi produced for the Swiss market to meet their emission controls. A 2.2 Litre EFi version of the GTX is introduced to certain LHD markets. Models sold in United States are equipped with 2.2 L engines and an updated interior.
  • 1985 - Production of the Fuego ends in France, with the introduction of the Renault 21.
Fuego GTA Max (Argentina)
  • 1986 - Production ends in Spain. Production lines transferred to Argentina and Venezuela.
  • 1987 - Production continues in Argentina (where it now features the 2,165 cc engine as the only available powerplant with 116 PS or 85 kW or 114 hp) and Venezuela.
  • 1990 - The final phase III GTA is introduced with new bumpers, white front indicators, and charcoal tail-lights. The higher performance GTA Max, an improved version of the GTA, is introduced in Argentina with a 2.2 engine and 123 PS (90 kW; 121 hp) by Berta Motorsport.
  • 1992 - South American production ends.


  1. ^ "La nouvelle Renault Vel Saltis". Action Auto Moto (in French): 24. 2001. Retrieved 10 July 2015. C'est l'un des thèmes esthétiques chers au designer Michel Jardin, aujourd'hui responsable de la cellule concept-cars chez Renault et initiateur de la bulle sur feu la Renault Fuego et la Renault 25. 
  2. ^ "Renault blends art with wind tunnel". Automotive News: 26. 5 April 1982. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  3. ^ Chapman, Giles (20 February 2007). "Classic Cars: Renault Fuego". The Independent. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  4. ^ Vann, Peter; Asaria, Gerald (1985). Extraordinary Automobiles (Second ed.). Motorbooks International. pp. 10, 158. ISBN 9780879382018. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Renault Fuego". Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Tegler, Eric (11 July 2002). "1984 Renault Fuego TurboRenault's "halo" car". Auto Week. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  7. ^ a b LaChance, David (May 2010). "1982-1985 Renault Fuego". Hemmings Motor News. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  8. ^ "AMC plans cuts in production of subcompacts". Plant Shutdowns Monitor. Data Center. 1984. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  9. ^ Costa, André & Georges-Michel Fraichard, ed. (September 1981). "Salon 1981: Toutes les Voitures du Monde". l'Auto Journal (in French) (14 & 15): 71. 
  10. ^ Salon 1981, pp. 118-119.

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