Renault’s long history of exceptional hot hatches looks to be entering its most interesting phase yet.
The firm has already announced its Renault Sport division is set to be culled, with Alpine to take over all of its performance projects. Simultaneously, the brand is moving towards full electrification, with no room for pure internal combustion engines, or even the odd hybrid.
Renault has said in the past that it hopes to balance out the move to full electrification by reincarnating some of its iconic past nameplates. It’s already named the old Renault 5 as being one of these, subsequently showing off a well received, funky R5 EV concept in January.
At the Renault eWays Electrio Pop electrification plan event earlier this month, the French firm stated that a fully electric hot hatch is in the world. Many suspected that it would be a sizzling version of the production R5, and this has since been confirmed.
Speaking to Auto Express in the UK, Renault’s executive vice president of engineering Gilles le Borgne let slip that an R5 hot hatch is in the works, stating that “one of the dream garage will be a derivative of the R5” and adding that the project is “progressing quite well”.
Built on the brand’s CMF-EV platform, the model will borrow the powertrain from the upcoming Megane E-Tech Electric crossover. A wider track, wilder styling, and torque vectoring are also on the menu. Borgne suspects it will hit 100km/h in about six seconds.
Most curiously, unlike most other brands which have largely ditched front-wheel drive in favour of rear-wheel drive in their electric projects, Borgne says the model will stay true to Renault’s roots and be front-driven — like the current Megane RS, and past icons like the Clio Williams.
“For the CMF-EV platform we will keep the 215bhp e-motor in the front and in the rear, we will have a big surprise. We want to do torque vectoring, have really amazing handling and performance — as you can imagine for an Alpine. We are working on that.”
The news comes weeks after Renault’s eWays Electro Pop event, where the brand stated it would add 10 new electric vehicles in the next five years. It expects the standard Renault 5 to be a third cheaper than the current Zoe EV supermini, thanks to shared components, a low-cost 100kWh battery, and other measures.
Renault says that by 2025 65 per cent of its models will be electric. And, by 2030 a huge 90 per cent of its models will be electric. The 10 per cent sliver of internal combustion models may represent the brand’s ongoing commercial vehicle sales, but time will tell.