The following news does not really concern the North American market, since the Renault division has not been around since the late 1980s. However, there is still a craze for the most popular car in France, the Renault 5, which left its mark on the automotive landscape in the 70s and 80s.
The most exotic of the Renault 5s, the R5 Turbo and its successor, the R5 Turbo II, also found a way to cross the Atlantic Ocean at the time, but its diffusion on the North American continent remained very timid. Expect the same scenario for this new styling study called the R5 Turbo 3E.
At the time of writing, the French automaker is working on the return of the R5, but it will no longer be powered by a combustion engine, but rather an all-electric powertrain. In fact, the brand showed what to expect from this future electric model earlier in 2021.
But before lifting the veil on this electric reincarnation of the mythical city car, Renault wanted to demonstrate that it was still capable of developing cars focused on driving pleasure and even more. The R5 Turbo 3E is a logical continuation of the first two R5 Turbos in history, although the “E” points directly to an electric motorization.
The designers have kept to the essence of the old R5 Turbo, with the engine housed behind the two occupants, except this time it’s a pair of electric motors developing a very adequate 375 horsepower and an even more impressive 516 lb-ft of torque. All of this power is of course transmitted to the rear wheels, which is another reason why Renault describes its latest creation as a car “born to drift.
To power these two engines, the car uses a 42 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which can be recharged in two hours with a 380 V charging station.
True to the R5 Turbo of the 1980s, the R5 Turbo 3E is a featherweight at 980 kilograms, which allows it to record a 0-100 km/h time of just 3.5 seconds (or 3.9 seconds in Drift mode). As for its top speed, it is “limited” to 200 km/h.
The design of the car, which will be officially presented at the Chantilly Arts & Elegance 2022 competition on September 25, is also a tribute to the car of yesteryear, although the size of the wheels – 19 inches at the front and 20 inches at the rear – is very much of its time. The widened fenders, oversized spoiler, LED running lights and carbon fiber bodywork are all hints that it belongs in the 21st century.
Inside, two Sabelt carbon fiber racing seats set the tone, as does this futuristic dashboard with 10 digital screens and a retro design, and the steering wheel adds to the show. As for the tubular safety cage, it also shows how serious this prototype is.
Renault will probably never come back on this side of the Atlantic, but we can at least console ourselves by admiring this R5 Turbo 3E.