Films: Homologation Specials: 1980 Renault 5 Turbo
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Homologation Specials: 1980 Renault 5 Turbo

Automotive augmentation in the pursuit of rallying doesn’t get much better than the Renault 5 Turbo. This week Sam Hancock drives the road-going homologation special in Biella, Italy.
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Carrera5
Carrera5
1 year ago

So enthusiastic and such an appreciation of the car. You seem approaching middle age. 40s.. Thank you so for carrying the torch.
Great video production, BTW.

Klaus Rejkjaer
Klaus Rejkjaer
1 year ago

Thank you SJ Morgen for writing almost exactly what I would have done. I have had two of these cars, the last one a very late production car with the mentioned Stage 3 tuning kit, producing 210 bhk and app. 285 Nm of torque. Same wheel option with Gotti’s 7×15 and rear 10×15, and the 285/40 rear tires that looked soooo great, and filled out the fenders perfectly. First registred in 1986, I sold the car in 2005, and have been regretting this ever since. And the value of these cars has been skyrocketing over the last 5-10 years.

S J Morgan
S J Morgan
1 year ago

Leave it to someone who has no experience or knowledge of R5Turbos to make a mess of the car’s handling description and production numbers.
While I didn’t watch the full episode, I can tell you that what I saw was lacking…
About 3500 or so R5Turbo 2s were built, maybe a few more. Total production of the R5Turbo line was more than 4000. There were 350 “competition” cars produced.
The Turbo 1s featured an alloy roof, doors and the rear hatch. They also featured the special interior and crazy color schemes (the blue being the best, set off by neon orange interior trim). However, the “nacre” Pearl White cars were conservative, with beige interiors and gray outer trim.
The later Turbo 2 was equipped with steel panels all around, and the interior and instrument panel from the Alpine A5 Turbo. This saved a little money in production. The rest of the car was the same as far as suspension, braking, HP and Torque. The weight of the all steel Turbo 2 was about 45 lbs heavier than the alloy panel Turbo 1.
There was a very thick option book from Renault Sport, and cars could be ordered with those parts installed if ordered directly from a Renault Distributor or the Factory.
The last 200 R5Turbo 2s were again, homologation specials, with alloy roof and a 100 cc larger engine. However, the technical details, the interior, weight, HP and torque remained at the same values as the previous R5Turbo 2. Some of us that ordered a Renault R5Turbo received this alloy top model, and didn’t think much about it. Today, the alloy top adds about $20k to the cars value.
The featured Turbo 1 is a repaint, and it would have been nice if someone plugged in the spark plug covers during the engine compartment photography, which really didn’t show the engine compartment.
The description of the handling was a bit off. Excessive understeer is usually due to incorrect front end settings (the factory demands 11º of caster and -2º camber, and the tires should not be 10 year + old TRXs). The heavy steering is not really an R5Turbo trait, unless it is equipped with the Renault Sport ZF Roller Locked LSD (where the slip is very limited). This LSD can also increase understeer if the chassis is not set up properly for it. Also, the quicker ratio (2 turns lock to lock, instead of 3) is much heavier as well.
Properly setup, a trip through the canyons in an LSD/QR steering R5Turbo will give you a proper upper body workout.
As with any performance car, proper tires of a recent production run will produce substantially better handling, as will proper maintenance and chassis setup.
The handling, even on bumpy roads, is handled by a very long travel suspension, even on cars that have been lowered. Again, good tires will show how well these cars stick to uneven pavement and put the power down.
The reality is that the R5turbo rally cars, in both Group 4 and Group B were the best tarmac cars of the period, even when they were made obsolete by more powerful all wheel drive Lancias and Audis. R5s were winning into ’86 on tarmac, including the Tour d’Corse/Rally France.
The Coup d’Europe racers ran on 13″ wheels running 280/580/13 “Coup” specific race tires and could be drifted at will with their 185PS engine option.
My own R5Turbo 2, which I ordered directly from the factory and owned for more than 34 years, had the 185PS kit, full “Coup” (alloy) roll cage (from the race cars), the Renault Sport LSD, CR gearbox and quick ratio steering gear, was dead neutral handler with a smooth transition to overseer at the limit. It cornered at 1.1G, when we measured it in 1985, running Pirelli P7s on 15″ rims, 285/40/15 rears, 195/50/15 fronts.
Engine options included the 185PS kit, with larger charge air cooler and waste gate shim (23psi), and the “210 PS” kit, which had improved pistons, liners, fuel distributor, exhaust header and ignition. This engine had a much fiercer feel, and is a very rare option.
It’s a shame that in Europe, a better example could have been found and a more complete video made.
They didn’t even get the proper sound from the car.
If you want a better demonstration of the R5Turbo 2, watch the Bond movie “Never Say Never Again”. You will see the R5s extreme handling characteristics better demonstrated.
Or, just go buy one, put proper tires on it, fresh dampers, get it aligned and enjoy. It is the best canyon carver ever.