The all-new Renault Clio RS is in the final stages of testing before its expected public debut at the Paris motor show in September.
French sources say the car will have a new turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine with ‘at least’ the same 197bhp as the current car’s 2.0-litre, naturally aspirated unit.
A 187bhp version of the same engine is currently in the Nissan Juke. Sources say the Renault Clio RS will also get the option of a new dual-clutch gearbox, which is expected to get paddle shifters as standard.
The Mk4 Clio is based on a new platform, gaining width and length, and will come in five-door format only. Distinctive styling, with dramatic ‘tucked-in’ side sections, large shoulders over the rear wheels and rear door handles hidden in the C-pillar is intended to project a coupé-like look. Unlike the current RS, the new version is based on the same bodyshell as the basic Clio.
The Mk4 Clio, which should be revealed in mainstream form this summer, is vital for Renault. The company is struggling, with sales dropping by 21 per cent between January and April this year as concerns about the eurozone continue.
French industry minister Arnaud Montebourg said last week that he is considering helping prop up the French car industry, with tax breaks for economical cars or a new scrapping incentive system.