The Renault 5 Turbo is being reborn as an electric rocket.
50 years ago, Renault introduced a car that would change the landscape of French motoring. Known as the Le Car to you and me, the humble 5 instantly became an icon in France. Thanks to a low price tag and its fuel efficiency, it became the nation's most popular car. Between 1972 and 1986, a staggering 5.5 million examples were produced.
At the height of its popularity, the hot hatch craze swept across Europe. Volkswagen gave us the Golf GTI, Ford the cheeky Escort RS Turbo, and Renault? It gave us one of the best - the R5 Turbo. No one saw the automaker turning its tiny city slicker into a rear-wheel drive hooligan, but it did. To this day, it remains one of the most iconic Renaults and now, 50 years later, the brand is paying tribute with a mysterious new electric performance car.
In the 15-second video above, we can hear the distinct whirr of an electric motor. Decidedly '80s graphics pop up, beckoning viewers to "enter the game." Which game, you ask? We're not sure but, judging by the spirited driving, it's set to be a fun one.
Renault provides further hints on its website, clueing us into what it could be. "As part of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the R5, Renault will soon reveal a new show car that is a contemporary tribute to its most legendary sports versions." To be fair, the styling gave it away - even in the shadows, the R5's shape is instantly recognizable.
Unlike the original Turbo models (which employed turbocharged four-cylinder engines) the tribute is entirely electric. Renault, like most of the car industry, is betting big on EVs and plans to invest $26 billion to expand its presence in this segment.
There's no word yet on how powerful it will be but, judging by the teaser clip, it should be quite sprightly. We'll find out more about the intriguing concept soon, as Renault plans to showcase the vehicle at Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille on September 24 and 25. Soon after, it will steal the show at the 2022 Paris Motor Show, which opens on October 17.
Until then, all we can do is sit back and drink in the details. Renault notes the design was inspired by video games, and that's clear to see in the front end. A retro-style lightbar spans the width of the front fascia and puts one in mind of old-school video games. Or perhaps RoboCop.
The squared-off flared arches house what appear to be delightful deep-dish wheels. Of course, the most prominent feature is the massive rear wing, seemingly borrowed from a Pikes Peak hill climb entrant.
This isn't the first time Renault has used the R5 as inspiration for a futuristic concept. Early last year, the brand revealed the adorable 5 Prototype, a battery-powered hatchback that blends tradition with modernism. There's a very good chance the yet-to-be-revealed tribute car is a hotted-up version of the 5 Prototype, with some styling changes and a more potent powertrain.
We wouldn't be surprised if this doesn't make production and, while that's a shame, we're just glad to see Renault honoring its rich legacy. Perhaps its performance subsidiary Alpine would see fit to transform the zany hatchback into an electric Type R rival. After all, the company embraces electromobility and recently introduced its first-ever EV, the A110 E-ternite concept car.
There's a strong possibility that it may be fuelled by hydrogen. Renault itself is working with the energy source, and Alpine has already said it wants to build sports cars with hydrogen-powered V6 engines.