Modern classics: Renault 5 GT Turbo
The Renault 5 GT Turbo is still one of the most sought after hot hatches of the 80s, and if you’ve ever
driven one you’ll know why! Upon release in 1985, it confirmed that Renault was firmly in the hot
hatch game, by following on from the success of the 5 Turbo.
With its racing pedigree and sharp lines, boy racers and yuppies alike were soon salivating at the
thought of tearing up the streets in this turbocharged pocket rocket.
What makes the 5 GT Turbo so great?
While the original Renault 5 Turbo was a brilliant little rally car, its mid-engine design made it less
practical for road use. Renault ditched that idea with the GT Turbo and went for more conventional
front-engine with front-wheel drive. The car was still fast, fun and engaging, but it was also usable
for day-to-day driving.
The Renault 5 GT Turbo was up against some stiff opposition in the hot hatch category, with the
Peugeot 205 GTI, Fiat Uno Turbo, Golf GTI MK2 and Fiesta XR2 all vying for top spot. The GT Turbo
was the quickest of these in a straight line, and one of the cheapest to buy, but the 205 GTI was a
better driver’s car.
With its turbocharged 1397cc engine, the GT Turbo hit 60 mph at 7.5 seconds, with a top speed of
120 mph, this ultralight beast was the speed king of the 80s mini monsters!
The other thing you notice when driving the GT is the turbo lag! These days we rarely experience it,
but back in the 80s when your car’s turbocharger kicked in you were pushed back into your seat. At
about 4,000 rpm the GT Turbo comes alive and encourages you to drive it hard. It’s easy to forget
how much fun it used to be to experience that thrill – like your very own space rocket on wheels!
Buying a Renault 5 GT Turbo today
If you’re considering buying one of these rare beauties today, there are a few things to consider.
Firstly, it’s tough to find one in original condition without rust. Mechanically, they’re easy to work
on, but the bodywork was notoriously flimsy. A mint factory original GT Turbo will set you back at
least £15,000, but you can pick up one that needs some love for around £4,000… and most of that
love will involve a welder!
We’d say that it’s worth it to own a piece of history and a true modern classic. Of course, if you do
find a nice Renault 5 GT Turbo, do pop along to see us down at Trafalgar Street Car Park so we can
admire it as you drive past!