The Renault 5 can be considered the French equivalent of the Mk1 VW Golf. The boxy little hatch has a cult following and an enviable motorsport heritage. It also happens to be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. As part of this celebration the French automaker has produced the Renault R5 Turbo 3E. This is a one-off concept car that harks back to the rally machines of the 1980s.
“R5 Turbo 3E combines ultra-tech design and wilfully exuberance with numerous references to the world of car racing and video games. This combination propels the show car into modernity and technology, and it is at the frontier between the real and virtual realms. This pure electric “drifter” demonstrates that electric cars can also be fun with incredible performance!” says Renault design director, Gilles Vidal.
The Renault R5 Turbo 3E is an unashamed homage to the famous, rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive Renault 5 Turbo. That older version (white car pictured in gallery) served as the stylistic and thematic inspiration for this show car. There are pink, blue and yellow LED strips at the front and rear, which flash when the car drifts, adding a 1980s and 1990s videogame feel. Retro videogames also provided the inspiration for the camouflage stickers adorning the body.
The body of the new concept has been widened and features vented rear fenders that accommodate massive, 325 mm-wide rear tyres. All four wheels feature retro-cool turbo fan-style air extractors. The pugnacious hatch is over two metres wide and four metres long. It is based on a tubular spaceframe with an integrated FIA-spec roll-cage.
Just like the original, the Renault R5 Turbo 3E has its drivetrain situated behind the occupants, of which there are just two. A pair of electric motors takes up the space usually reserved for rear passengers. The motors are powered by a midships mounted battery pack. Renault says the electric motors deliver a total of 280 kW and 700 N.m of torque. Those outputs slingshot the car from rest to 100 km/h 3,5 seconds and on to a top speed of 200 km/h.
The powertrain features various modes. These are called “Turbo” (for drifting), “Track invader” (for playing), “Donut” (well, for donuts). It was conceived as a drift machine, so it features a mechanical handbrake, with extended lever to initiate smoky sideways action. There are no fewer than ten mounting brackets for action cams to capture all the action. The Renault R5 Turbo 3E will be on display next month at the 2022 Paris Motor Show.