A normally aspirated engine and a manual gearbox have both been axed from the Renaultsport Clio as the firm looks to turn its consistently class-leading hot hatch into a more focused driver’s tool than ever.
Both the regular Clio 4 and the new Renaultsport Clio 200 have been revealed at the Paris motor show. The latter will be exclusively available with a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, spelling the end for the famed Renaultsport Clio hallmarks of high-revving normally aspirated engines mated to manual gearboxes.
This switch, claims Renaultsport’s managing director Patrice Ratti, will take the car’s “sporting driving experience to the next level”.
The new 1.6 turbo engine produces 197bhp at 6000rpm. The outgoing RS Clio’s normally aspirated 2.0 unit produced the same power, but at 7200rpm.
Torque is increased by 19lb ft to 177lb ft over the outgoing car’s 158lb ft. But whereas the 2.0 engine’s peak torque arrived at 5400rpm, the turbocharger in the new car’s 1.6 allows peak torque to be available from just 1750rpm and remain constant until 5600rpm.
The Renaultpsort-developed dual-clutch transmission – named ‘EDC’ (Efficient Dual Clutch) – can be left to its own devices or manually controlled using steering wheel mounted shifters. It can make gearshifts in just 150 milliseconds in Race mode, but will still be comfortable and user friendly for everyday use, according to Renault.
Race mode is one of three selectable – alongside Normal and Sport – that can be selected by a new ‘RS Drive’ button in the interior. This alters parameters including engine and gearbox mapping, steering feel and throttle pedal response. Renault has yet to confirm performance figures for the new model, but in Race mode a 0-62mph of less than 6.5sec is to be expected. It could even get close to the 6.0sec mark as a Launch Control system will be offered. The old cover cracked 0-62mph in 6.9sec.
Renault claims the 16v, four-cylinder engine, which largely based on the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s widely-used 1.6 turbo engine, features ‘DLC’ (Diamond Like Carbon) cam followers technology adapted from its Formula 1 engines. Other features of the engine include direct-injection, variable valve timing and a brake energy recovery system.
The switch to a downsized, turbocharged engine has resulted in a reduction in CO2 emissions of around 25 per cent. The old car’s figure was 190g/km.
Renault will again offer the Renaultsport Clio with two chassis settings, Sport and Cup. Sport is the standard set-up; the Cup chassis is 15 per cent stiffer and has a 5mm lower ride height than the Sport.
Braking at the front is provided by 320mm-diameter discs, which are an increase of 8mm in size over the current RS Clio’s.
Renault claims the overall feel of the RS Clio will be one of “edgy performance”, but it promises the car’s famed “excellence in terms of chassis, performance and braking” will be maintained.
Visually, the new RS Clio is a more sporting interpreation of the new Clio. At the front it features an F1-style blade, while at the rear there’s a diffuser and spoiler that are said to produce downforce. Also new are the front grille, LED daytime running light design, front and rear bumpers and sill extentions.
The car will ride on 17in alloys as standard, with 18in alloys optional. Dual exhaust tailpipes will feature at the rear.
Inside, the red-trimmed interior gets sports bucket seats that can be shod in leather as an option. The instrument panel is unique to the RS Clio, as are the aluminium pedals. Other standard features include Renault’s new R-Link infotainment system, touchscreen navigation, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, hands-free entry and a starter button. Options include automatic climate control and parking sensors.
Different engine notes from “a range of iconic engines” can be tuned through the R-Link system. A full range of interior and exterior personalisation options are also offered. The car will be priced from around £18,500.