Up your hot-hatch game with a Renault R5 Turbo

It’s not powerful but it can give you something no other pocket rocket can

Packing 158 hp and 163 lb-ft (221 Nm) of torque, the R5 Turbo (also known as the “5 Turbo”) could launch to 62 mph (100 km/h) from a standstill in less than seven seconds, and reach a top speed in excess of 124 mph (200 km/h).

Oh, and the car weighed about 2,200 pounds (1,000 kg). Quite a lot, even for the craziness-driven ‘80s era. The R5 Turbo was a radically reworked Renault 5 supermini — although they shared the same chassis, the Turbo had its engine mid-mounted, and rear-wheel-drive. As a precaution measure, the car sits on fat rubbers: 190-mm width at the front, with 225-mm covering the 15-inch rear wheels.

Renault created the R5 Turbo for revenge purposes — they couldn’t forget Lancia’s wins over the already-aging Alpine. So, after meeting Group 4’s homologation requirements — they had to build 400 street-legal copies — they toned down the production a bit. The Turbo 2 used more stock Renault 5 parts, rendering it more accessible to the wide audience. Almost 5,000 units were made, of which about 5% were shipped in the US.

The one up for auction here is a second-generation R5 Turbo showing around 18k miles (or 29,000 kilometers) on the odometer, and boasting a large array of upgrades — all of them using, of course, original parts. You can read the extensive description here. As the owner stated, the car was subjected to a “thorough mechanical refresh” in 2016, at a cost of “more than $20k.” You can see (and hear) the result in the clip below.

As for the asking price, this little gem of French madness will set you back for at least $70,000. That’s well more expensive than any of the modern hot-hatches. Thing is, no other modern hatchback ignores the practicality in favor of a mid-mounted engine.