The Renault R5 - A Legendary Hatchback You Probably Forgot All About
There are moments when a carmaker’s ambitions go way beyond its financial or technological powers. But in pursuing said ambitions, only a select few companies managed to overcome any difficulties and deliver amazing car.
Take Renault, for example. Back in the late 70s and early 80s, the French firm simply couldn’t afford to fully develop a rally race car from the ground up. So it had to work with what it had, in this case the humble Renault 5, which through massive modding gave the raucous Renault R5 Turbo.
2019 Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R
The 2019 Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R is about as close as it gets to being the cap stone for the front-wheel drive hot hatch pyramid. It is the most extreme version of the current Megane RenaultSport and it makes the regular model look tame and watered down by comparison.
It is the even more extreme version of the Megane R.S. 300 Trophy, which, in turn, is more hardcore than the base Megane RenaultSport. The 300 Trophy already has plenty of go-faster mods, such as a standard Torsen limited-slop differential, a stiffer suspension setup complete with trick dampers that feature a hydraulic bumptstop, as well as bigger brakes and extra power extracted out of its 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder.
The Trophy-R takes things a step further: most of its performance gain comes from the weight shedding of 130 kilograms (286 pounds) and some enhanced aero. Renault engineers also removed the 4Control four-wheel steering system not only to make the car lighter, but to also give it a more consistent feel when driven quickly around a track. This and other mods result is a car that currently holds the front-wheel drive lap record around the Nurburgring Nordschleife, which is no surprise, because that’s what it was designed to do (and also be the quickest and most focused vehicle of its type).
It’s also definitely got future classic written all over it. Only 500 examples will be made, all with a manual six-speed gearbox, stripped out interior (with a deleted back seat) and unique graphics. The high asking price might put some off it, but for those hardcore enthusiasts who are willing to spend more than 50 percent more on a Trophy-R than they would on the regular RenaultSport Megane (in order for the car to come fitted with the Nürburgring Record Pack), the difference will be worth it.
Jay Leno Goes Full Throttle in a 1985 Renault R5 Turbo2: Video
You gotta love it when manufacturers bring race-proven performance to the street. Back in the ‘80s, that’s exactly what Renault did with the R5 Turbo2, a boxy giant-slayer that looks the part of a sideways dirt-slinger all the way down to the hugely flared rear fenders.
This thing is just dripping with old-school-cool, which means it fits right in at Jay Leno’s Garage. Originally, the mighty mite used to be (as Jay puts it) “just a front-wheel drive, front-engined, econobox.” Now, however, it’s so much more. For starters, the engine is in now behind the seats, and now features a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder producing just under 200 horsepower, all of which flows through a five-speed manual transmission. The suspension was also completely reworked, and of course, don’t forget that glorious new body work. The product of racing homologation, just 200 were produced with the same aluminum roof as the example seen here.
This thing is a straight-up rally superstar for the road. Check it out in length in this 27-minute, 44-second video, which includes a look at all the technical details, and a stint on the streets of Southern California.
All Changes Contrived by Renault Sport To Brew The Hardcore Megane RS Trophy
I can only infer that the importance of hot hatches in Europe is on par with the importance of muscle cars in the U.S. They are a must-have for every company that wants to do any business there. Renault and its division - Renault Sport - always did a really good job in this department with the overachieving Clio RS and Megane RS cars. Today, a new one emerged. Following the habits of the past, Renault Sport revealed the new Megane RS Trophy. It’s a car based on the regular RS but bathed with small tweaks to make it ever so faster, hardcore, and slightly meaner. It is a track weapon that tackles the monstrosity of the Honda Civic Type R, or the sophisticated gem the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport is. I will go even further and give Hyundai the courtesy of joining this exclusive group with its stunning Hyundai i30 N. I am fairly certain that the Megane RS and the Megane RS Trophy are fighting for supremacy with it too.
This is the most powerful production car Renault Sport has unveiled up to this point. The RS 1.8-liter turbocharged engine has been tuned with F1 tech and is now producing 296 horsepower. This is not the end of it as I suspect the Megane RS Trophy-R will come sometime in the future.
Renault decided to dish a nod to the Clio 220 EDC Trophy with this, the Clio R.S.18. To make the car stand out among the Clio range and pay proper homage, of course, Renault kicked things off with some F1-styled exterior enhancements and a special paint scheme. The interior got some special goodies like leather and Alcantara while the juice comes from a 1.6-liter turbo mill with 220 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque on tap. It’s enough for a 6.6-second sprint to 60 mph and a top speed of 146 mph – not bad for a small hatch. Of course, it was a special edition model so if you don’t have one already; you’re pretty much out of luck. At least you can decorate your desktop with it thanks to a few hand-picked wallpapers. Go ahead and pick one out for yourself.
2017 Renault Alpine A110
It took Renault about three years to transform the 2012 Alpine A110-50 Concept into a production-friendly vehicle, and the road-ready sports car is finally ready to hit the market. Come 2017 and the French company relaunched the Alpine brand at the Geneva Motor Show. As expected, the production model shares many design features with the concept cars Alpine showcased in recent years. The most recent of them is dubbed Alpine Celebration Concept and broke cover ahead of the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was featured again a couple of weeks later in the year at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and looked ready to hit the streets with minor modifications here and there.
As the name suggests, the Celebration Concept celebrated six decades since Alpine was established in Dieppe, France. Also, it pays homage to the classic 1961 -1973 Alpine A110, a sports car the French built from 1961 to 1977. Introduced as an evolution of the A108, the two-door "Berlinette" was designed by Giovanni Michelotti and used a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. Among being Alpine’s most iconic model, the A110 was also a successful race car, winning the manufacturer’s title at the end of 1973 World Rally Championship. All told, the new Alpine has a lot of heritage to build on and this is more than evident in the final production model.
Continue reading to learn more about the new Renault Alpine.
Renault unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show the new family of Megane models, topping the lineup with the high-performance version: the Renault Sport 265. The model received an updated exterior look that includes a new hood and headlights, plus some elements inspired F1 technology.
If you remember, a special edition Megane RS 265 Trophy smashed the Nurburgring record for front-wheel-drive cars back in 2011, and it was to expected for the new Megane R.S. to pay tribute to that model. From the Trophy model this new Megane R.S. borrows a few design elements, like the 19-inches wheels wrapped in the same Bridgestone high-performance tires used to set the world record.
The model comes equipped with limited-slip differential, front suspension with an independent steering axis and a chassis offered in two configurations — Sport or Cup — allowing the driver to enjoy it at its full potential.
Click past the jump to read more about the Renault Megane R.S. 265
Renault has just added a new Megane Limited Edition to its lineup for those customers who want to combine the practicality of a station wagon with sporty performance. The new model will be initially offered in France and will then move on to 11 other markets from Europe to Japan — sadly it won’t make it to the U.S.
The new Megane Estate GT 220 is powered by a Renault Sport 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that delivers a total of 220 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. The engine is combined with a Stop/Start function that helps it deliver a respectable 32 mpg.
This model will ride on the same sport chassis as the Megane R.S. and will be offered with a sport-tuned suspension, performance brakes, and specifically calibrated electric power steering.
Customers will identify the Megane Estate GT 220 special edition by its gloss-black touches on the door mirrors, diffuser, front air scoops, and roof bars. If those extra gloss-black accents aren’t a dead giveaway, the "GT 220" badges sure will give it away. This model will be offered with an exclusive set of gloss-black 18-inch "Serdard" wheels. On the interior, it will add a specific steel gear lever knob and a numbered "GT 220" plate.
When the Emerg-E popped onto the scene during the Geneva Auto Show, us automotive folk were amazed at the technology and potential behind this car. We were also amazed to see a rather familiar platform looking back at us, as the Emerg-E is built on the same platform as the Lotus Evora.
Lotus is no stranger to lending out its platforms and bodies for various performance applications (see: Hennessey Venom GT), but it has never gotten into the actual building phase of these cars. Infiniti has yet to confirm that the Emerg-E for production, but its sister company, Renault, has already announced that the Alpine will go into production, in one form or another.
Since Renault has also made it clear that the Alpine will not be much like its concept and the Emerg-E is already based on a Lotus concept, why not save a little scratch and build both models on the same platform? There is really no reason not to and there is absolutely no way that Lotus would refuse this deal, as it sorely needs a little extra money these days.
Sure, the production level may be low and the income may be limited, but it would at least help put Lotus back into the sports car conversation. In addition to getting its foot back into the sports car door, with the Evora and Emerg-E being range-extended electric vehicles, this could carve Lotus a real nice and potentially profitable niche.
We’ll have to wait and see what comes of this, but the connection is already there, it just needs a little push in the right direction.
Okay, car commercials tend to get just a little extreme and us Americans only get to see a fraction of them, due to certain makes not being sold in the States. One automaker that is not currently selling cars in the U.S., but does well in other markets around the world, is Renault. Part of its success may be due to its crazy commercials, like the one above.
Two women of near equal beauty – racecar driver and French TV presenter, Margot Laffite and a cute blonde known only as “Jenny” – whip a Twingo R.S. around the Nürburgring. The racing is great and the women are superb, but Renault had to add in a slight twist. That twist was to challenge “Jenny” to hold a fish bowl full of water and a fish while Laffite winged this hot hatch around the `Ring.
The reactions of “Jenny” are classic and the enjoyment in Laffite’s face as she scares the crap out of this “Glam passenger” are priceless. To make things a little more interesting for the guys, this well-built passenger is wearing a white shirt, and we all know what a white shirt plus water equals...
Put your tongues in your mouths, guys, she’s wearing a blue bra, so there’s nothing to see, unless wet lingerie is your deal.
In all, the video is pretty sweet and we can’t wait to see the next edition in Renault’s “Challenge Us If You Can” video campaign. Keep it here to get the latest videos as the become available.
We often rave about the brass cojones that racecar drivers have, particularly rally drivers. Formula drivers, on the other hand, get very little recognition, as they drive on paved surfaces and most people think they just drive fast. In reality, these guys and gals behind these open-wheel machines have some guts themselves.
Enter in Jeroen Slaghekke, a driver of a Renault 2.0, and you have a guy that not only has the set required to race, but also to make split second decisions that could result in tragedy to avoid having to pit and lose position. The back story is that he had an electrical issue with his steering wheel that required repair, but pitting would have forced him to give up precious places in the race. So, instead of pitting, this guy removes the wheel himself at full speed, repairs the obviously simple issue, and slaps the wheel back on in time for a left turn.
We understand that these wheels are quick release and it’s just a matter of pulling a two tabs to release them, but to do this at speeds in excess of 100 mph and continue accelerating as he does it is simply incredible. We all know people that can barely drive in a straight line at 20 mph with both hands on the wheel. We bet that Mr. Slaghekke has no issue with keeping his daily driver straight.
To see this gutsy gamble, check out the above video and pay close attention to the 11-second mark.
We love gossip just about as much as a 16-year-old schoolgirl, but our gossip is about [ahem] manly stuff; you know? Things like the rumor out of France that Renault will in fact re-launch the Alpine brand that it shuttered up a little less than two decades ago. You read that right, the Alpine sports car brand is returning… if the rumors are true.
According to comments made by Renault chief of design, Laurens van den Acker, the French automaker is trying to develop a car that is more similar to the A110Berlinette from the `60s and `70s and that it is trying to do with Alpine what BMW has done with MINI. Now, before you go getting all excited about seeing a production model of the A110 concept, you can scratch that, as Renault wanting a design similar to the `60s and `70s Alpine A110 nixes that possibility.
To add some validity to the reports, Jean-Pascal Dauce, Renault’s motorsports department head, was reported saying that they anticipate producing 5,000 to 10,000 Alpines per year. Rumors also point to this limited lineup of sports cars running between €35,000 and €40,000 ($44,000 to $50,000), which makes them relatively attainable.
The final tidbit of info leaked is that Renault is anticipating its release to occur sometime in 2015. Unfortunately, there is no information on whether the new Alpine lineup will be available in the U.S. or not. We are certainly hoping that it does, given what we have seen from the A110 concept.
We’ll keep you posted on anything else that comes across the rumormill.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed is the ultimate expression of speed, power, and noise when sports cars, supercars, hypercars, luxury cars, and hot hatches tackle the legendary 1.16-mile hill climb. Additionally, the Festival of Speed also gathers a huge collection of current racing cars and their drivers and past racing cars and their drivers together.
Despite Renault’s recently launched Alpine A110-50 concept being one-of-one, Renault recently announced that it’ll be tackling the legendary hill climb in the car.
This announcement comes in line with Renault’s recent announcement that it’s planning a ‘big surprise’ for the Festival, but we can confirm that that big surprise is not in fact that the Alpine will be competing.
Nevertheless, the French brand also confirmed that an extensive list of other racers will compete at the hill climb, including the R5 Maxi Turbo, Megane trophy racer, Alpine A443 and two of the brand’s most historic Formula One cars, being the RE40 and RS01.
We can confirm that Renault obviously won’t be attempting to break the current hill climb record as the A110-50 ‘only’ pumps out 400 horsepower whereas other racers competing will produce in excess of double that.
Either way, it’s certainly going to be a very special sight to see and will hopefully be the first of many racing events the Alpine A110-50 Concept will take place in the coming months.
Full story after the jump.
As always, the Grand Prix of Monaco provided a fairly spectacular showing, likely one of the few in this year’s F1 series. As most would expect, Circuit de Monaco lap-time record holder and five-time winner, Michael Schumacher took the pole position, but officials forced him back five grid positions after he caused a collision during qualifying. With the technical nature of Monaco, that pole position is very important and Schumacher’s penalty was an ominous sign that this would not be a good race, as he retired due to fuel issues 63 laps in.
Schumacher’s penalty propelled Red Bull’s Mark Webber into the pole position. Webber held onto that pole position, despite a lead change during a pit stop, and took home the checkered flag on a rain-coated Circuit de Monaco. As we said in our preview of the 2012 Grand Prix of Monaco, this race had some serious overall points influence, as the leaders were only separated by a few points each.
This victory for Webber places propels him up to a second place tie with Sebastian Vettel at 73 points and puts Fernando Alonso, who finished third, in the points lead at 76. An impressive run by Nico Rosberg placed him in second, just behind Webber, proving that his wide margin of victory in China was not just a one-time deal. This superb finish by Rosberg jumps him up two slots to fifth place overall.
From the looks of it, this season is shaping up to be a rather close points race with a few new faces near the top. Unfortunately, the leader board, for the most part, looks identical to the 2011 and 2010 seasons. The lack of parody in F1 has really been its Achilles heel in recent history. An overall points victory by Nico Rosberg would certainly be a push in the right direction for F1, so we’ll keep a close eye on his performance.
Click past the jump to see the complete placement board for the 2012 Grand Prix of Monaco and the overall points standings.