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Renault Fuego GTX in the driving report: Renault's unknown sports coupé

Hardy Mutschler
Renault Fuego GTX in the driving report
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Hand on heart: Who has been in a Renault again recently F uego met? Aha. So that was a long time ago - many are actually no longer on the road. And the demand for the coupé, which is gently trimmed for sport, is likely to be only marginally higher in this country than the interest in the budget debate of the city council of Nice.

Who then completely unexpectedly received a well-preserved Renault Fuego GTX discovered, can certainly be a little bit puzzled. Because this coupé with the clear glass pulpit over the trunk was really never remembered so seductively. Review: In January, the author and a photographer traveled over the Swabian Alb in a Volvo Amazon for a photo production. But the story threatened to fall victim to a sudden snow storm. A dry place had to be found quickly for the indoor photos - that's when the team discovered the covered area of ​​a former gas station in Sonnenbühl-Erpfingen.

If a fairy came by and pushed the used cars parked there aside, production would be in the can. Fortunately, instead of a mythical creature, a nice owner turned up: a very friendly master mechanic who maneuvered the vehicles, especially Renault, guaranteed faster than any fairy from the farm. The good man then led his visit through his homely workshop, which must have been ultra-modern in the eighties.

Aerodynamically smoothly sucked shape

'At first we were closely with Renault connected ', explains the owner,' today you can put everything in my yard . ' The fact that a Renault Fuego GTX from 1981 in almost new condition is parked behind the house comes to light by chance. The author and photographer are immediately hooked. And suddenly a detailed tour of this car seems more important than the completion of the Amazon story. 'It belongs to my son Martin,' explains the owner, 'and it is not for sale.' The latter, however, is not because a Renault Fuego is generally difficult to sell. Ratherpurely for emotional reasons.

'The Renault Fuego GTX is Martin's first car. He bought it in March 1996, but sold it again in the same year.' But somehow the son seemed to be attached to this vehicle. 'In 2000 he bought back his former Renault Fuego.' The next day an appointment for a trip is made with the owner. Sonnenbühl-Erpfingen for the second. A polished Renault Fuego is waiting in the workshop. The only 'blemish': the hood with the indicated hood comes from the turbodiesel variant that was available in France from 1982, but not in Germany. 'Probably the first owner was of the opinion that his car would look a bit sportier,' speculates the owner. At first glance, one does not want to believe that the flowing shape of the Renault went into series production in 1980.

The aerodynamically smooth figure of the Renault Fuego GTX also made a powerful impression at the presentation at the Geneva Motor Show - not least because Renault had trumpeted the extremely impressive drag coefficient of 0.34 for this car. Follow-up measurements in Germany, however, showed a more realistic drag coefficient of 0.37 ( auto motor und sport 22/1980). At the time, however, this margin wasn't really bad either.

The Renault Fuego GTX is reminiscent of the Porsche 924

When looking at the fully glazed trunk lid of the Renault Fuego GTX, the viewer is somehow reminded of Porsche's 924. The company was certainly not too sad about that. Anyone looking for a sporty car at the beginning of the eighties certainly did not think of the family-oriented goods in the showrooms of Renault dealers. The tired predecessor coupés R 15 and R 17 were taken out of the range as early as 1979 due to a lack of demand in this country. Only Alpine kept the world a little in suspense for the group with a sharp R 5 and the A 310 V6. The Renault Fuego, technically an R 18, should now become Renault's new figurehead in terms of sport.

From the point of view of the company strategists, only one name fit: 'Fire'. But why a traditional French company chose the Spanish and not the French word for it could only have been because 'Feu' doesn't sound as dynamic as 'Fuego'. But there can hardly be any talk of dynamism, at least in the smaller of the two engine variants initially offered in Germany. The models Renault Fuego TS and GTS struggled with the 96 hp 1.7-liter unit from the blissful R 16 quite dispassionately through the area.

Modern light alloy engine from the Renault 20 TS

Fortunately, the Renault Fuego GTX has the more modern light alloy engine with overhead camshaft and 110 hp from the R 20 TS. Shortly before the exit, the owner quickly presents theThe original brochure and the fully stamped inspection booklet, which, however, ends at a modest mileage of 120,000 from today's point of view.

'You probably did not expect this car to have a higher mileage,' smiles the 29-year-old, who works through the company his father viewed the world from pretty much all Renault models from childhood. He knows better: His Renault Fuego GTX has clocked 136,741 kilometers without any problems. 'The engine should easily manage 200,000.' If you had time to drive the car. Fortunately, today is finally another day. The owner drives the coupé enthusiastically on his rollercoaster-like home track on the Swabian Alb.

The Renault Fuego GTX sprints from 0 to 100 in 9.8 seconds

For someone like him, the 110 hp are definitely enough to drive away much more powerful cars. The Renault Fuego GTX is not a child of sadness anyway - such a tightly tuned chassis was just as unlikely from a French high-volume automobile as the sudden Formula 1 successes of Renault in the early 1980s.

The direct, not too smooth power steering of the Renault Fuego fits perfectly into the scheme. It takes time for someone like that to seriously lose his temper in the corners. Even on the straights, the fun doesn't stop with the 1,060 kilogram coupe. Only 9.8 seconds pass from the stand to 100 km /h. And if you want to know (the high-revving engine literally tempts you to do it), you will end up darting over the track at 195.7 km /h. There aren't many modern 110 hp cars that should seriously mess with a Renault Fuego GTX.

In general, there are few cars that offer their passengers such a perfect all-round view as the Renault Fuego. While the crew feels quite comfortable in the flat, well-formed furniture covered with velor in the first row, outside the hills of the Alb rush past thanks to the lush glazing and a low belt line in XXL format. Quasi a 360-degree panorama. Not bad.

The disadvantage of so much transparency: Even with a moderate outside climate, the Renault Fuego quickly gets quite warm. Even a Finnish sauna operator would probably turn green with envy if he had to get into a Fuego parked somewhere in the south of France in the summer. A few kilometers later, the owner went into the irons, steered his Renault Fuego along a dirt road, and finally stopped in front of a barn. Inside is his Karmann GF. A story about this ingenious buggy - that would be something. And he also had a Citroën ID. We will probably have to move out again.


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