All-new Renault 5 previewed ahead of Geneva

Hotly anticipated electric city car gets bonnet-mounted battery indicator and 248-mile range

By PH Staff / Thursday, 30 November 2023 / Loading comments

We’ve already got a fairly good idea of what the incoming Renault 5 E-Tech (and its Alpine-branded stablemate) will look like because its maker has been diligent with previewing it conceptually – to mostly rave reviews. But that hasn’t prevented the firm from entering an intensive three-month teaser campaign ahead of the car’s official reveal at next year’s Geneva show. In fact, if it continues at its current pace, we ought to be able to piece together the entire production model like a jigsaw puzzle by the time February rolls around. 

Still, Renault’s excitement can be forgiven in this case. Its ongoing effort to put ‘a modern, electric spin on the iconic Renault 5’ was always going to attract attention, and with a chronic shortage of affordable small cars said to be one of the things holding EVs back generally, the launch of a good-looking, good-to-drive French supermini might be just the shot in the arm the wider segment needs. 

Hearteningly, the manufacturer has made the latter characteristic a core target. Built on the new AmpR Small platform that will underpin a range of cars, the 5 is primed to feature a multi-link rear axle as standard – independent suspension said to be essential to the ‘very good agility’ claimed for it by Renault executives familiar with the project. Additionally, a new generation of batteries and electric motors is said to have reduced a significant amount of weight compared to the current Zoe – the outgoing model that Renault hopes to undercut in terms of starting price. 

While it has not announced powertrain details yet, the manufacturer has confirmed that the 5 E-Tech will launch with a 52kWh battery capable of delivering ‘up to 248 miles’ of range when measured the WLTP way – slightly improving on the Zoe’s 239 miles from the same capacity, and suggesting that it will likely share its 135hp output. At 3.92m, the newcomer will be fractionally shorter than its decade-old sibling, Renault reiterating that it will be ‘every inch a city car’ and will be equipped with a bidirectional onboard charger that features V2G technology – meaning that owners can sell electricity back to the grid if the 5 is left parked for extended periods. 

Its owners will certainly be well aware of the car’s current charge; one of its most notable features of the new model is a prominent indicator mounted in the vicinity of where the air intake appeared on the original model. As detailed in the picture, the ‘accessible interface’ will take the shape of the number ‘5’ when the battery is fully charged. Gimmicky? Perhaps. But when Renault talks about sculpting the wheel arches in homage to the R5 Turbo and of fettling the vertical rear lights to reduce airflow turbulence, it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into making the new model seem highly distinctive – which can only be a good thing. 

“Renault 5 E-Tech electric is a cult icon redesigned for the modern age. We pulled out all the stops for this engaging car, designed and built in France. With its cheerful design and new-generation technologies, it’s out to make electric vehicles more affordable in Europe,” noted Renault CEO, Fabrice Cambolive. If the resulting production model achieves even a fraction of its namesake’s success – the ‘70s-era Renault 5 became one of the best-selling cars in the world, let’s not forget – then its maker will certainly have justified the extensive run-up to its public unveiling. 

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