Last week, Renault teased an electric R5 Turbo with a gigantic wing and not much else that we could see. The mysterious rally monster was part of the brand’s celebration for the 50th anniversary of its iconic Renault 5 city car, which it’s also bringing back as a future production EV. Today, we’re finally able to get a better look at it. This is the R5 Turbo 3E.
The “3” refers to its predecessors — the Renault 5 Turbo and Turbo 2, evolutions of the original mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive homologation special hatch designed for World Rally Championship competition in the 1980s. The “E,” as you likely guessed, stands for “Electric.”
There is no Turbo (although there are Turbofans). Instead, there’s 380 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of instant torque, produced by two electric motors channeling power to each of the rear wheels. Yes — just like its predecessor, this widow maker is also two-wheel drive.
It tracks, then, that the R5 Turbo 3E car is born for drifting. It has a 50-degree steering angle just for the purpose, a huge handbrake lever jutting out of the highlighter-yellow center tunnel and several driving modes, including one called “Donut,” explicitly to help it spin fast in circles.
While the R5 Turbo 3E doesn’t use any Renault 5 parts, the body panels are the same shape as the original car’s — just made of carbon fiber. The automaker said in a press release that the concept’s design was inspired by “pop and gaming mode,” with plenty of “references” to video games, like so:
There are also pink, blue and yellow LED strips at the front and rear, which flash when the car drifts, adding a 1980s and 1990s videogame vibe. Retro videogames also provided the inspiration for the camouflage stickers adorning the body. Lastly, the Plexiglass windows are pink and a sticker reading “La vie en rose” on the rear left window adds a sweet je-ne-sais-quoi to this show car’s universe.
These references do not harken back to any specific title in particular; just a vague idea of the ’80s and ’90s that pervades modern culture, which explains all the bright yellow and hot pink. If you actually go back and play them, video games in the ’90s especially were really more of a dithered, grainy brown. Like Konami’s GTI Club for example, which actually had a Renault 5 Alpine in it. Now that would’ve made for one hell of a reference.
All of the images Renault released of the R5 Turbo 3E on Thursday appear to be of 3D renders and sketches. However, the company says the actual car will premiere this weekend, at the Chantilly Arts & Elegance 2022. Maybe it’ll do a donut to mark the occasion.