Weighing in at just 1,875 pounds, the Renault 5 Turbo didn’t need much power to go quickly. However, the wise men responsible for this Group B gem felt a turbocharged motor sitting midship would do nicely. This particular example drives the rear wheels with roughly 300 horsepower with great (for the era) turbo response. Needless to say, the compact Renault 5 Turbo was a rocket, and a genuine handful, too.
It has everything a young boy could want in a racing car. Bulbous bodywork, wide fenders, a squat stance, and the square proportions are all very easy on the eyes; the handiwork of Bertone designer Marcello Gandini. Inside the diminutive box of a cabin, the engineers placed a 1.4-liter turbo engine behind the driver. The combination was enough to take the Renault 5 Turbo to victory four times in WRC — three times in the talented hands of Jean Ragnotti. To think it was based off of a ubiquitous, front-wheel drive economy car is a bit funny.
That short wheelbase, square proportions, and plenty of power make for a busy driving experience. Thankfully, Enzo Bottecchia has the talent needed to control the fiery hatchback. The traction is strong, but when the Renault 5 decides to let go, it does so in a big way.
All that also makes for an agile car, but one that a wise driver ought not to take too many liberties with. Sensibly, Bottecchia seems to pay a little more respect to the machine in the fastest sections of the course (0:47). With the guardrails that close and the rear of the car so nervous, I would too.