The Renault 5 is a supermini produced by French automaker Renault. It was produced in two generations 1972–1985 (also called R5) and 1984–1996 (also called Super 5 or Supercinq). The R5 was sold in the US as Le Car, from 1976 to 1983. Nearly 5.5 million were built.
The Renault 5 achieved, like the original Mini, a cult status.
First generation (1972–1984)
First generation, front
||Renault Le Car (USA)
|Body and chassis
||782 cc I4 Ventoux
845 cc I4 Ventoux
956 cc C1C I4
1108 cc C1E I4
1289 cc 810 I4
1397 cc C1J I4
1397 cc C6J turbo I4
||2,419 mm (95.2 in)
||3,521 mm (138.6 in)
||1,525 mm (60.0 in)
||1,410 mm (55.5 in)
||730–810 kg (1,610–1,790 lb)
Images and details of the Renault 5 were published on 10 December 1971, the car's formal launch following on 28 January 1972.
The Renault 5 was styled by Michel Boué, who designed the car in his spare time, outside of his normal duties. When Renault executives learned of Boué's work, they were so impressed by his concept they immediately authorized a formal development programme. The R5 featured a steeply sloping rear hatchback and front dashboard. Boué had wanted the tail-lights to go all the way up from the bumper into the C-pillar, in the fashion of the much later Fiat Punto and Volvo 850 estate / wagon, but the lights remained at a more conventional level. The 5 narrowly missed out on the 1973 European Car of the Year award, which was instead given to the Audi 80.
Boué died of cancer in 1971, just months before the car he designed was launched.
The R5 borrowed mechanicals from the similarly popular Renault 4, using a longitudinally-mounted engine driving the front wheels with torsion bar suspension. OHV engines were borrowed from the Renault 4 and larger Renault 8: there was a choice, at launch, between 782 cc and 956 cc according to price level. A "5TS/5LS" with the 1,289 cc engine from the Renault 12 was added from April 1974. As on the Renault 4, entry level Renault 5s had their engine sizes increased to 845 cc in 1976 and at the top of the range later models had the engine sizes expanded to 1,397 cc.
It was one of the first modern superminis, which capitalised on the new hatchback design, developed by Renault in the mid 1960s on its larger R16. It was launched a year after the booted version of the Fiat 127, and during the same year that the 127 became available with a hatchback. Within five years, a number of rival manufacturers - namely Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen - had launched a similar car.
Although the mechanical components came from earlier models, body construction involved floor sections welded together with the other body panels, resulting in a monocoque structure. The approach had by then become mainstream among many European automakers, but represented an advance on the mechanically similar Renault 4 and Renault 6 both of which used a separate platform. The monocoque structure reduced the car's weight, but required investment in new production processes.
First generation, three door
First generation, five doors
The GTL version, added in 1976, featured a 1,289cc engine tuned for economy rather than performance. The 5 GTL was distinguished from earlier versions by thick polyester protection panels along the sides.