As Renault prepares to relaunch its legendary R5, Auto Plus looks back on the long career of one of the best-selling cars in history, in France.
From the mid-1960s, Renault was preparing to enter a new era. And in fact, the Renault 5, launched in 1972, is very innovative. With its plastic bumpers, its large tailgate, and its folding bench, it is undeniably practical and very modern.
The style, signed Michel Boué, is immediately striking: very cubic shapes, which nevertheless remain endearing, thanks to its large headlights, its pretty proportions and its very pop colors. The price is very contained thanks to the adoption of the Renault 4 platform, very simple in design.
The best-selling car in France for 10 years in a row
Modernity, style, attractive price: the R5 is an instant success. It will also remain the best-selling car in France for 10 consecutive years, from 1974 to 1983. By way of comparison, the Peugeot 205, an icon of the 80s and 90s, won this title for only 3 years.
In total, Renault will have passed nearly 5.6 million R5, then 3.5 million of its replacement, the Supercinq. An undeniable popular success, which today offers it a strong rating of sympathy and nostalgia, on which Renault intends to surf: during the major Renaulution conference, the diamond brand presented an electric concept car using the lines of the R5.
Key dates for the Renault 5
1972: the Renault 5 goes into production. Initially two versions are available: the entry level L, and the higher version TL. The Billancourt engine of the L, with its 782 cm3, then developed 36 hp.
1974: appearance of the sporty LS version. The LS is almost twice as powerful as the L, with 62 hp from its 1.3L Cléon Fonte engine. It also becomes the best equipped of the R5s, with in particular the gear lever which now goes to the floor, and not more through the dashboard.
1976: the range is expanding a little more, with the appearance of the GTL, cut for the greatest distances, and the Renault 5 Alpine, which then becomes the sportiest of the R5s. Its not very discreet exterior decoration and its more than respectable performance (with 93 hp), it quickly becomes an icon.
1979: the Renault 5 is available in a 5-door version, which is more practical.
1980: marketing of the crazy R5 Turbo, a racing car approved for the road, with a four-cylinder turbo positioned in place of the rear seats. It has been developed to approve a rally racing version.
nineteen eighty one : The R5 Alpine receives this turbo engine and therefore becomes … The R5 Alpine Turbo.
1984: end of career for the Renault 5, then replaced by the Supercinq. If the latter adopts a similar look, below, everything is new: the platform is then the one used by the R9 and R11, much more modern than the old 4L which serves as the basis for the R5. The Supercinq will also be a great popular success, and will sell 3.5 million copies. It is becoming better and better equipped to fight against rivals Peugeot 205 and Volkswagen Golf. It also adopts diesel for the first time, while the Supercinq GT Turbo exceeds 200 km / h at peak.
1996: end of career for the Supercinq and therefore the R5 line in general. The Renault Clio, launched in 1990, took over.
2021: during the presentation of the great Renaulution plan, Renault CEO Luca de Meo announces the future launch of a new Renault 5, this time electric. A concept is unveiled.
Discover the details of the Renaulution plan in video: