Renault has confirmed that it is considering a new version of the classic Renault 5 to enhance its supermini range. A company source explained that a reborn Renault 5 is under discussion and could complement the next Twingo as well as the forthcoming fourth-generation Clio.
"We're seriously thinking about bringing back the Renault 5 to underpin the Clio," confirmed a source within Renault. "For it to be a credible car it would have to offer more than a Twingo. That would mean it wouldn't have to just be good dynamically, but would have to introduce a notion of the revolution that the 5 brought to the market in 1972, both in terms of technology and positioning."
The source also ruled out the prospect of Renault introducing a DS-style sub-brand in the way that fellow French marque Citroën has, but believed the reborn Renault 5 could play a similar role in enhancing the brand.
The R5 was the first modern supermini with its three-door hatchback layout, and is still considered a styling tour de force. It was a European best-seller for most of the 1970s and lived until 1985, when it was replaced by the visually similar ‘Supercinq’.
Almost a year ago Autocar first reported on rumours of a new Renault 5 emanating from within the company. At the time, well-placed insiders believed that the reinvention of one of Renault’s best-loved and most stylish models would give it a chance to cash in on the fast-growing market for specialty small cars.
Renault’s planners would be anxious to avoid producing a design that is too retro in character when the company is launching itself into a period of more forward-looking and imaginative designs.
Expect to see plenty of references to the original car, including the signature rectangular headlights, slender grille, unusually low crease in its flanks, innovative impact-absorbing bumpers (though perhaps in classier, coloured textures than the original plastic) and vertical tail-lights.
Inside, Renault’s engineers are unlikely to risk reproducing the push-me-pull-you gearlever that sprouted from early cars’ dashboards, although they may reference its vertical ribbing. But the interior will be considerably more inviting than the rubber-floored original’s, finished to a far higher standard and offered with the wide variety of materials that have made the Mini and Fiat 500 so appealing to customers.
A long options list and the scope for extensive personalisation would be key to the car’s appeal and its profitability. Mechanically, the R5 would likely be be based on the Renault Nissan Alliance B platform, as used on the Clio 4 that will be unveiled at the Paris show in September.