The Renault 5 GT Turbo – A Pocket Rocket Blast From the Past


When the Renault 5 GT Turbo first arrived in the UK back in 1985 it caused quite a considerable stir amongst its potential hot hatch rivals. It wasn’t just the looks of this pocket rocket that caused it to stand out, with the turbo changed engine and minimal kerb weight, it also had the power and pace to put its rivals firmly in the shade.

The Renault 5 GT turbo marked the start of a Renault hot hatch dynasty that progresses through the distinctive gold wheels of the Renault Clio Williams and on to the limited edition Renault Clio Trophy and the latest Renault Clio 197. Under the bonnet, the Renault 5 GT Turbo used the uninspiring 1.4 litre engine from its bigger Renault 11 brother. However the addition of a Garret T2 turbo and intercooler meant that inside the Renault 5 it produced a respectable 115 bhp.

Whilst 115 BHP seems quite laughable by modern standards, it is important to remember that the Renault 5 was not burdened by today’s airbags, air conditioning, side impact bars and power steering and so the overall weight of the car was just 850kg. This was light enough to give the Renault 5 GT turbo a very modern 0-60 time of just 7.5 seconds, and quick enough to beat its contemporaries, in the shape of the Fiat Uno Turbo and Peugeot 205 1.6 GTi.

It wasn’t just in the power stakes that the Renault 5 GT could trounce its rivals, with all new springs, dampers and anti roll bars the R5 could also run rings around them when it came to handling too. The GT also proved to be extremely popular amongst the aftermarket fraternity, who could easily modify the engine to produce up to 200bhp.

The distinctive looks of Renault 5 GT Turbo were penned by Marcello Gandini, who already had the Lamborghini Contach in his portfolio, and with its wide wheel arches, imposing front grill and fake vent ducts it is certain to make an impression wherever it goes. Whilst the yellow fog lights give the Renault 5 a certain French flair a modern driver would probably want to upgrade the weak headlights to more powerful xenon headlight bulbs.

Because so many Renault 5 GT Turbo’s were modified with engine upgrades, suspension changes and body kits, finding a totally original model today can prove to be quite a challenge, but one well worth pursuing as this performance icon has now achieved cult status and still has the performance to keep up with modern traffic.

The Renault 5 GT Turbo is destined for classic status and whilst being more fragile than a MK1 Golf GTi, its lack of modern comforts and safety aids mean it will always remain a true drivers car.

Whilst the Renault 5 GT Turbo still has the performance to keep up with its modern-day rivals, you will find that the lighting performance from its standard Car Bulbs to be quite lacking, especially on demanding night drives. Fortunately, you can very simply and easily improve your Renault’s car lights by upgrading the Headlight Bulbs from halogen to new xenon bulbs to really light up the road ahead.