The Renault 5 wasn’t one of the most exciting cars ever produced by the French automaker, but the Turbo 1 homologation special was an entirely different beast. The most powerful French car at its launch, the hot hatch eschewed the front-engined, front-wheel-drive layout of the regular supermini and opted for a mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive setup.
The more common Renault 5 Turbo 2 followed, and while it felt less special, it was still a remarkable little hatchback with the same 160-horsepower engine as the original. It had slightly less torque (155 lb-ft vs 163 lb-ft) and put on quite a lot of weight (970 kg vs 900 kg) after replacing many of the light-alloy parts, but managed to remain a quintessential hot hatch.
Fast forward to 2021 and prepare to meet the Turbo 3, a natural evolution of the 1980s rally car. While it doesn’t come straight from Renault, the newly formed Legende Automobiles wants to pay tribute to the feisty French machine with a modern-day interpretation without diminishing the attributes that made the original version so special.
Company co-founder Alan Derosier originally intended to work on the Porsche 911, but knowing that segment of the market is well-covered by the likes of Singer and co., he decided to channel his efforts towards his other childhood hero – the Renault 5 Turbo. A couple of teaser images have been released, sending out a 1980s vibe while giving us a glimpse of what has been labeled as the Turbo 3 version.
Beefy fenders at the front and rear along with a large wing suggest the tiny mid-engined hatchback has taken a heavy dose of steroids while adopting modern LED lighting. Legende Automobiles’ Turbo 3 boasts a pair of square exhaust tips incorporated in a wide rear diffuser while the front end has air ducts through which we can observe the wide wheels.
The restomodded 5 Turbo will be unveiled shortly, and while Renault won’t be coming out with a mid-engined supermini anytime soon, it is bringing back the 5. It’ll eschew the combustion engine for a pure EV setup and will spawn a high-performance Alpine version to echo what was one of the first hot hatches – the 1976 Renault 5 Alpine (Gordini / Copa in other markets).