6 October 2004

Stripped-out hot hatch fun has returned to the Renault range in the form of the Clio Renaultsport 182 Cup.

In response to customer demand, the successor to the 172 Cup gets air-con and anti-lock brakes, both omitted from its predecessor, although this reduces the weight saving to 20kg compared to the 80kg of its forebear. The philosophy of a cheaper, lighter hot hatch means a price tag of £13,800 – £900 under the standard 182’s – but the deletion of goodies such as xenon headlamps, lateral airbags, auto headlamps and wipers, split rear seats and heat-reflecting windscreen. But the Cup does benefit from the suspension and spoiler pack offered as a £395 option on the standard 182, which means a lower ride height and stiffer springs and dampers. Other changes include bespoke interior trim and revised steering geometry. Electronic stability control and cruise control are also standard fit, and buyers get a choice of two paint alternatives; the standard Racing Blue with optional £95 white stripes, and the new metallic Inferno orange for £325.

Although the 2.0-litre 182bhp engine is unfettled, the loss of 20kg has helped ease the Clio’s dash to 62mph to below seven seconds. It now stands at 6.9sec. The insurance grouping remains rated at 16. The UK is Renaultsport’s biggest market worldwide, and almost half of the Clio 172s sold here were the Cup version, a trend Renault expects to continue.

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