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.