The Renault 5 Turbo was in production from 1980 until 1986. Styled by Marcello Gandini, it is a mid-engine, rear wheel drive coupe range seating five adults.
The Renault 5 Turbo was effectively a homologation special. It was created in response to the Lancia Stratosâ€™ dominance in the field of rallying â€“ Renault wanted a mid engined competitor of its own, to take its game a step above the standard Renault 5 Alpine/Gordini. The wider rear end was penned by Gandini, and the Cleon engine from the standard 5 was relocated to the middle of the car before being turbocharged. The Garret AiResearch T3 forced air into a specially fuel injected 1.4 litre variant of the Cleon, giving 158bhp and 163lb.ft of torque â€“ enough to make it Franceâ€™s most powerful car at launch. The first 400 were developed as homologation specials for Group 4, and shared components with the Alpine A310 sports car. Demand was so strong, over 1800 of these early cars were built. Later, a more refined Turbo 2 model was produced targeted more directly at road use â€“ leading to the retrospective Turbo 1 name for the original cars. Turbo 2 models featured an interior more closely linked to that of a standard 5, along with the replacement of light alloy Turbo specific panels with the equivalents from a standard road going 5. This made for a more civilised and cheaper to produce car, but one which could still hit 60 in under 7 seconds. By 1986 the rallying world had changed significantly, and the launch of the Supercinq made the 5 Turbo 2 look outdate. It was discontinued that year without direct replacement, though the more prosaic 5 GT Turbo arguably took its position as the fastest 5 you could get.
To drive the Renault 5 Turbo is a car of two halves. Itâ€™s undeniably peaky, and if you accidentally hit fourth instead of third coming out of that tight left hander you can kiss goodbye to any acceleration. Push too hard or overcorrect it and youâ€™ll spin it, especially in the wet. But get it right and the snappy little Cinq is like nothing else on the road. Maintain the momentum and drive it like small cars should be driven, and itâ€™s better than you could ever hope.
Service items are easy enough to find, as are interior parts for the Turbo 2 (comparatively) owing to their similarity to a standard 5 Gordini. Turbo 1 specific trim and the alloy panels can be difficult to source, and the carâ€™s nature as a homologation special means many will have been driven hard â€“ maybe even crashed. Check the bodywork to ensure everything lines up as it should, and if in doubt walk away.
The Turbo 1 is without doubt more desirable than the later Turbo 2, though the later car is certainly easier to use and maintain on a regular basis. With that in mind weâ€™d leave the Turbo 1 to serious collectors and focus on Turbo 2s if we were buying a 5 Turbo for the driving experience. With 1820 Turbo 1s and 3167 Turbo 2s made, the Turbo 2 is also going to be easier to find.
As a mid engined rally special, alternatives would include cars like the Ford RS200 and the MG Metro 6R4. However, itâ€™s vital to note that the Renault 5 Turbo existed in a lower category of rally car and so the performance is dissimilar. You might thus consider cars like the Lancia Delta Integrale as more realistic rivals. Audiâ€™s Quattro changed the face of rallying, so for the same rally car for the road experience it may be worth a look. The Renault Clio V6 embodied the concept in a 21st century manner.
|Year||Make||Model||Submodel||Body Type||Average value|
|1980||Renault||5||Turbo 1||Hatchback||£ 45,600 60,800 91,200 110,300|
|1980||Renault||5||Turbo 2||Hatchback||£ 38,400 51,300 71,200 90,200|