The Renault 5 GT turbo was spawned from the mid-engined rally car of the early eighties. The Renault 5 Turbo 2 was designed for competition, whereas the Renault 5 GT Turbo was an out and out fast road car.
Renault had built a giant killer at the right time, with the hot hatch market taking off in the mid eighties.
Competitors were quick, but nothing could match the Renault 5 GT Turbo in its price range. The 1397cc four cylinder engine was bursting with power at 115bhp. With a Garret T2 turbo charger helping to produce a phenomenal 0-60mph time of 7.1 seconds. Every other performance hatchback was at least a second behind the Renault.
The Renault 5 GT Turbo looked the part, thanks to Lamborghini designer Marchello Gandini giving the car a sports make-over. Fat grills and arches made the hatch back look squat and muscular. This was seen as controversial by some but it gave the GT Turbo the show as well as the go it already had.
Many Renault 5 GT Turbos have fallen by the wayside these days, being written off or stolen not recovered. The ones that are left are a mix bag from bangers to pricey mint examples. Surprisingly, rust isn’t the major problem it can be with cars of the era. Always check the usual places for rot, such as wheel arches, below the windscreen, doors and sills, as even good cars may have these faults.
Engines do have a reputation for fragility, so check when the engine is idling that the cooling fan cuts in. Plumes of white smoke while accelerating are signs of head gasket failure, and blue smoke is burning oil which could be a tired turbo.
Gear boxes are strong and clutches are reliable, but can be changed for a stronger Volvo 480 clutch with a longer actuating arm fitted. Brakes are reliable but nothing special. They will probably have been replaced by now to something more suitable. Look out for non standard wheels as the 13” originals normally get changed for bigger ones.
Original interiors wear with seats, dashboards and gear knobs showing signs of old age. It can be difficult to find decent replacement parts for these items so remember this when you’re looking for the right car.
There are four versions of turbocharged Renault 5s. The Renault 5 Turbo, built for homologation. The Renault 5 Turbo 2, similarly mid-engined but not as lightweight as the earlier models. The Renault 5 Gordini Turbo; and the best known version, the legendary Renault 5 GT Turbo.
Mark Wilkinson, Managing Director Says:
“The Renault 5 GT Turbo was the hatchback to catch in the mid eighties. With all that power in a tiny 3 door car no one could touch it. Renault continued the theme with the Clio but everybody remembers the GT Turbo.”