Its major accomplishments including being the top-selling European two-door coupé for the 1980-82 period; the first mass produced four-seat sports model to be designed in a wind tunnel (with a resulting drag coefficient (Cd) factor of 0.32-0.35 depending on model and year); in October 1982, the new Turbo Diesel model being classified as (then) the fastest diesel car in the world with a top speed of 180kph; the first car in the world to have a remote keyless system with central locking that was available from the 1983 model year (from October 1982). The system was invented by Frenchman Paul Lipschutz (hence the name PLIP remote which is still used in Europe), and later introduced on other Renault models; and finally the first car to have steering wheel mounted satellite controls for the audio system (European LHD GTX and Turbo from October 1983). This feature became popularised on the new 1984 model R25.
The car was a radical departure from the R15 and R17, as it introduced a gently rounded design instead of the wedge-shaped predecessors. The Fuego's body design was created by noted automotive designer Robert Opron, who had previously designed the Citroën SM, Citroën GS, Citroën CX, and later followed with the Renault 25 in 1984.
European model variants ran as follows: 1.4L TL, GTL; 1.6L TS, GTS (manual and automatic transmissions); 2.0L TX, and GTX (manual and automatic transmissions). A 2.1L Turbo Diesel was also produced for LHD European markets in the 1982-84 period. The Fuego Turbo (manual transmission only) was added in 1983 to coincide with the midlife facelift. This included a new front grille, bumpers, and interior trim. In the United States, the Fuego was offered with a 1.6L turbocharged or normally aspirated version in 1982 and 1983; for 1984 and 1985 it was offered with a 2.2L engine.
The Fuego became an instant sales success. It became the number one selling coupé in Europe during the 1980-2 period. However, as with most fashionable designs, its sales slipped as the years progressed. In France itself (thus, excluding Argentina and Spain) the production number was 226,583 or 265,257.