Designed as a model geared more towards young urban drivers, the Renault 5 reflected many of the circumstances of its time: the evolution of society in search of more comfort, style and functionality, but also the search for greater savings due to the oil crisis. company of the 1970s.
We have to go back, indeed, to 1972 to find the beginning of the history of the 5, a model which was produced until 1985, although its successor, called Super 5, kept the aesthetic identity very close to the model. of origin (even with an unprecedented body and platform), thus, taking into account these two generations, more than nine million units were produced between 1972 and 1995, including in Portugal, thus becoming one of the most successful models of the French brand.
But the biggest proof of its reach is that almost every adult over the age of 30 has a history with the 5, whether with family or friends, with those who still idolize models like the 5 GT Turbo. , for example.
a change of scenery
Faced with the success of the Renault 4, the brand needed an additional bet. After the first sketches created by Michel Boué in his spare time, in 1967, the first 5 were presented on January 28, 1972, then only with a three-door body, which scared the dealers of the time, since the standard for the success was that of the four-door vehicles. However, the first months of marketing allayed the fears of Renault’s sales network, becoming almost immediately a success due to its compact size and elements such as the luggage compartment with the same space as a shopping cart, or the plastic panel shocks integrated into the bodywork for a more modern look.
The only problem with a successful launch turned out to be completely independent of the car: in the early 1970s, Renault introduced a new logo, the 5 being one of the few models to use it. However, this symbol was essentially identical to that of a chemical company, so a new logo had to be created, as the few units that exist with the “forbidden” logo are now the target of covetousness.
None of this has stopped the “triumphal march” of the 5 in Europe. With several evolutions of the engine and derivations of bodywork (such as the 1975 Commercial Company which could carry 350 kg of load), the Renault 5 was also a democratization of the automatic transmission, still in 1978, while the five-door version, launched in 1979, quickly became a customer favourite.
The city dweller also served as a “guinea pig” for electrical experimentation in 1972, with a series of around a hundred units developed in partnership with the national electricity company EDF. Technologically embryonic, this 5 had a 10 hp engine, a set of lead batteries and a range of between 120 and 180 km. The journey across North America was equally daring, between 1976 and 1983, with Le Car (local name) featuring subtle aesthetic differences, such as headlights wrapped in a protective “box” and bulkier bumpers, but in a style more suited to large automobiles. , its journey ended with 120,000 units sold.
The success of the small utility also favored the creation of sports versions, the 5 Alpine with a 93 hp engine making its appearance in 1976 to compete with the Volkswagen Golf GTI. But the real sporting ability didn’t come until 1978, when the most extreme 5 Turbo was presented at the Paris Motor Show as a homologation special for the rally version (400 production units were needed for the homologation of the competition version). Aggressive in appearance, this sports car stands out for its 160 hp rear engine which, combined with its 970 kg of weight, allowed it to reach 200 km/h. In 1983, the 5 Turbo 2 appeared, which modified some more expensive components to reduce the price, but which did not fail to maintain the exclusivity in terms of production (3167 units) as the pinnacle of the range.
Much more accessible (therefore more popular), the 5 GT Turbo populated the imagination of sports driving enthusiasts at the end of the 1980s, asserting itself as a less exuberant version, but just as playful, with a 1.4 turbo engine of 115 hp. Its success was proven by the more than 160,000 units sold until 1990.
The story of 5, which we thought was over, is now ready to start again. Taking advantage of the transition to electric mobility, Renault has announced the return of the 5 as an electric model for 2023. Designed by Gilles Vidal, it will be a decisive model for the democratization of zero-emission models, aesthetically inspired by the original model, but with the necessary technological update for the 21st century. This reinterpretation of the classic Renault 5 will be produced in Douai, based on the CMF-B EV platform, the most compact and capable of ranges of up to 400 km.