The Renault 25 is an executive car produced by the French automaker Renault from 1983 to 1992. During its time, the 25 was Renault’s flagship, the most expensive, prestigious, and largest vehicle in the company’s line-up. It placed second in the 1985 European Car of the Year contest. All 25s were built in Sandouville, near Le Havre, France.
Introduced in late 1983 for a March 1984 start of sales, the Renault 25 was a large step forward in nearly every aspect from the Renault 20 / Renault 30 range it was replacing. Its five-door liftback body was penned by designers Gaston Juchet and Robert Opron of Citroën SM fame, and the unconventional style (the wraparound rear window was its most famous feature) was aimed at giving the car a notchback look in order to overcome customer preference outside France for formal sedans in the segment. The 25 was one of the first cars designed from the start for aerodynamic efficiency; its drag coefficient (Cd) was 0.31, a key factor in improving fuel economy. The TS model briefly held the unofficial title of “world’s most aerodynamic mass-production car” with a Cd of 0.28, and at its launch the 25 was easily the best in its class for fuel economy. All Renault 25 models were front-wheel drive, with four cylinder (2-litre and 2.2-litre petrol injection or 2.1 litre diesel) and six-cylinder (2,849 cc and 2,458 cc turbo injection) engines mounted longitudinally forward of the front axle. The 25′s performance was above average for its class, with the V6 Turbo specification a match for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series.
The 25 was praised for its ride comfort and spirited handling (despite slight understeer, and torque steer on V6 Turbo models). A newly designed manual transmission drew unanimous praise for its precision and smoothness (although the détente spring on 5th gear could cause mis-selection of 3rd gear), and though the futuristic interior designed by Italian designer Marcello Gandini (of Lamborghini fame) was controversial, the 25 was highly regarded for its quiet, spacious and well-lit passenger compartment. Equipment levels were high and set new standards for French cars, the 25 including among other features, an express-up and down feature on the driver’s power window, voice alerts (covering items such as improperly shut doors/bonnet/boot – oil pressure, engine temperature/charging circuit and blown bulbs), and one of the world’s first remote stereo controls, mounted to the right of the steering column (controlling volume +/-, station search, station select (jog wheel) in radio mode & Volume +/-, mute and track advance (if supported)). For the first time since World War II, Renault had a realistic chance of breaking into the full-size market segment outside of France.
The Renault 25′s least durable part was the automatic transmission. As a result, most of the 25′s in service today are the 5-speed manual because only a few autos have survived. Three automatic transmissions were used on R25: MJ3, 4141, both 3-speed, and a new 4-speed AR4, later used on Safrane as AD4/AD8. The transmission itself was not that bad, but the poor quality and design of the ATF cooler, however, especially on the later AR4, resulted in this version gaining the title of possibly the worst automatic transmission ever designed. A leaking ATF cooler meant quick transmission death with little or no physical warning, except for ATF stains beneath the vehicle to which not all drivers paid attention or not quickly enough. The results were disastrous. The first transmissions started failing within a few years, that is, while the model was still in production. Renault then prepared a package that was to replace the original poor-quality cooler regardless of vehicle age and mileage. However, the fatal cooler location in front of the right wheel could not be changed. This is the reason why it is extremely difficult, if indeed possible, to find a Renault 25 Automatic with the AR4 transmission today.
The car underwent a facelift in 1988 with a new front end, taillights, interior materials, and front suspension. Essentially every panel was changed on the facelifted car, with the intent to smooth the styling. The new version also featured more powerful engines, the 2.2i engine being dropped and replaced by a 12v version of the 2.0i engine which produced 140 bhp. There were a small number of run-out post-facelift cars fitted with the 2.2i engine to use up stocks, these were rated at the normal 123 bhp for that engine. Production of the 25 stopped in late 1992 to make way for the Renault Safrane.
Eagle Premier/Dodge Monaco The Renault 25 was the base of the American-market Renault Premier. The Premier featured a body by Ital Design of Turin, Italy, and using the Renault 25 chassis although the suspension was derived from the Renault Medallion (Renault 21). The interior was designed by American Motors while the rest of the car was styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro. The model was eventually branded as Eagle Premier after the sale of American Motors (AMC) to Chrysler in 1987. From 1990 to 1992, Chrysler also sold a rebadged version as Dodge Monaco. Renault 25 Limousine An extended-wheelbase version of the initial Renault 25, called the Renault 25 Limousine, was offered. It was 22.7 centimetres (8.9 in) longer than the standard car and was available in two variants. The standard 25 Limousine had the same rear bench seat of the standard-wheelbase model whereas the Executive version had two individual seats with electric adjustment. The Limousine (only available as 2.7 V6 for right hand drive markets) was dropped from Renault UK’s range within two years of its 1985 introduction, but continued in other European markets. Coach Builders such as Boonaker provided bulletproof variants as well as fitting 2.5 V6 Turbo engines. For a time the President of France used a Armoured Limousine variant of the Renault 25 with some special modifications. Not least of these were two extra fuel injectors fitted into the sill mouldings on either side of the car at the ‘B’ Pillar position. These were directly connected to the engine fuel system through a switch in the passenger compartment that would, if the engine was running, simultaneously pulse high pressure jets of neat petrol and ignite them as a deterrent. Since the fuel injection system runs at high pressure this would have been a quite effective flamethrower but somewhat dangerous for innocent bystanders. The system was later removed for this reason.
*Level 1: Power steering, front power windows, and sound system optional. No side body cladding or rear-window wiper. Single-beam headlights. *Level 2: Power steering, front power windows, 2-speaker stereo, side body cladding, and rear-window wiper standard. 2 x 6 W sound system with steering-wheel-mounted controls (especially designed by Philips for this model) optional. *Level 3: Front and rear power windows, power mirrors, and 2 x 6 W Philips sound system standard. Trip computer and digital fuel gauge on gasoline versions. Anti-lock brakes, air conditioning, and 4 x 20 W Philips sound system with steering-wheel-mounted controls optional. *Level 4: 4 x 20 W Philips sound system and express-up/down driver’s power window standard. Dual-beam headlights. *Level 5: Air conditioning, leather interior, anti-lock brakes, 7-way power front seats, adjustable rear headrests, and elm wood inserts (door panels, gear shift knob) standard.
*2.0 L carbureted 8v I4 103 PS (76 kW) TS (1984–92, trim level 1) and GTS (1984–92, trim level 2). Top speed: 182 km/h (113 mph) *2.0 L fuel-injected 8v I4 120 PS (88 kW) (107 with catalytic converter on export versions) TX (1987–88, trim level 2; 1989–92, trim level 3) and TXE (1990–92, trim level 4) Top speed: 195 km/h (121 mph) *2.0 L fuel-injected 12v I4 136 PS (100 kW) TI (1991–92, trim level 3) and TXI (1990–92, trim level 4) Top speed: 203 km/h (126 mph) *2.2 L fuel-injected 8v I4 123 PS (90 kW) GTX (1984-89 on all markets, trim level 3; 1990-92 for export only, trim level 4) Top speed: 205 km/h (127 mph) *2.2 L fuel-injected 8v I4 110 PS (81 kW) GTX (1984-89 on all markets, trim level 3; 1990-92 for export only, trim level 4) Top speed: 205 km/h (127 mph) *2.7 L fuel-injected 12v V6 144 PS (106 kW) V6 Injection (1984–88, trim level 4) Top speed: 201 km/h (125 mph) *2.9 L fuel-injected 12v V6 160 PS (118 kW) (153 with catalytic converter after 1990) TX-V6 (1991–92, trim level 3), V6 Injection (1989–92, trim level 4), and Baccara (1989–92, trim level 5) Top speed: 212 km/h (132 mph) *2.9 L fuel-injected 12v V6 153 PS (113 kW) TX-V6 (1991–92, trim level 3), V6 Injection (1989–92, trim level 4), and Baccara (1989–92, trim level 5) Top speed: 208 km/h (129 mph) *2.9 L fuel-injected 12v V6 139 PS (102 kW) V6 Injection (1987–88) Top speed: 199 km/h (124 mph) *2.5 L fuel-injected 12v V6 turbo 182 PS (134 kW) V6 Turbo (1985–90, trim level 4 with model-specific steering wheel, rims, colour coded bumpers (not available on any other PH1 car) and grille until 1989). Top speed: 225 km/h (140 mph) *2.5 L fuel-injected 12v V6 turbo 205 PS (151 kW) V6 Turbo (1990–92, trim level 4) and V6 Turbo Baccara (1990–92, trim level 5) Top speed: 233 km/h (145 mph)
*2.1 L 8v I4 65 PS (48 kW) TD (1984–88, trim level 1) and GTD (1984–92, trim level 2) Top speed: 155 km/h (96 mph) *2.1 L 8v I4 88 PS (65 kW) Turbo-D (1984–92, trim level 3) and Turbo-DX (1984–92, trim level 4 except no express-up/down driver window before 1989) Top speed: 172 km/h (107 mph)