The Alpine supermini EV idea suggested in its new product plan is such a clever one that it's a surprise it's taken this long. Because not only is there the contemporary appeal of a small, stylish EV to consider - look at how well the Honda e has been received - there's also the nostalgia value of something which might look very much like the Renault 5. To the majority it will be nothing more than a stylish electric vehicle; to those in the know, however, it's a reimagination of one of the great French city cars. And that has to be a good thing. Combine that with Alpine's revitalised reputation and it's easy to see why anticipation is running high.
Whether a roadgoing Alpine supermini will have quite the impact of Renault's latest concept isn't clear just yet - it's not even confirmed that they are one and the same thing - but one thing isn't up for debate: using the 5 as inspiration was a brilliant idea. It's a car with a history like little else, production running for almost a quarter of a century and spawning everything from learner driver specials to mid-engined Group B rally cars. Even those not around for its heyday know what a significant little car the 5 was, which makes a comeback of any kind very exciting indeed.
Surely the best loved Renault 5 of them all in Britain was the GT Turbo. Perhaps not as pure as a 205 or as popular as a fast Ford, but to many the epitome of the 80s hot hatch: fast, light, a bit lairy and enormous fun. Turbocharged, too, meaning the excitement of both lag and some relatively easily won tuning gains.
Modifying is largely what did it for the GT Turbo; well, that and the propensity to rust. It was a circle of doom only likely to see numbers of 5s dwindle: a fast little car made even faster still, with badly fitted bodykits, lift off oversteer, bodged repairs and the all the other maladies that affect the Max Power generation. Plus the fact they went out of production 30 years ago. Considering all that it's a miracle any survived - leave alone a GT Turbo as good as this.
It's a Raider, the run-out limited edition nameplate also used many years later for the Renaultsport Clio. At the time of the 5 it meant dark blue paint with colour-coded wheels, though the same 122hp 1.4-litre as had always powered the GT Turbo. This one, on a 1990 'G' plate, is an early Raider - production ran into 1991 - yet must be one of the best now left. It's covered just 57,000 miles in the past three decades, and has apparently survived all that time with only slightly lower suspension and a rortier exhaust added. Given the 5's reputation as a magnet for spanners, that's probably the most notable achievement of all.
Once upon a time the 5 was once held up as the pinnacle of cheap, fast, French fun; therefore the £30k asking price of this one will cause some to baulk. Particularly given a nice, 1989 GT Turbo was £5k just a few years ago. Still, many more 5s will have disappeared since then, and the Raider really was the last of the line before the Clio. Opportunities to relive a misspent youth are dwindling seemingly by the month - a point both buyers and sellers will be all too aware of. In fact, if this is where 5 GT Turbos have ended up, it might be time to start stockpiling Renaultsport Clios...
SPECIFICATION | RENAULT 5 GT TURBO RAIDER
Engine: 1,397cc, inline-4 turbocharged
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 122@5,750rpm
Torque (lb ft): 122@3,750rpm
MPG: 30 or so
First registered: 1990
Recorded mileage: 57,000
Price new: £10,350 (standard GT Turbo)
Yours for: £29,750
1 / 8