Renault is considering the development of a premium supermini inspired by the original R5, sources have revealed.
Positioned as a chic rival for the Citroën DS3, Mini and Fiat 500, the reborn R5 would complement the next Twingo as well as the fourth-generation Clio, besides strengthening Renault’s presence in the flourishing small car segments.
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’.
Plans for a contemporary R5 are at a very early stage, not least because Renault has many new models under development as well as an ambitious electric vehicle programme. But well placed insiders believe 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 will 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. But the success of the Mini and 500 is hard to ignore, especially when VW is renewing the Beetle and reintroducing the Microbus.
So 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.