What is it?
It’s the latest incarnation of the hot Renault Clio, a vehicle that’s been one of the benchmarks for rapid small hatchbacks ever since the Clio 16v and Clio Williams. This latest Renaultsport Clio 200 is more of a mid-life refresh than an all-new vehicle, but it does include some notable refinements.
The 200 features a revised version of the Clio 197’s 2.0-litre normally aspirated engine, now producing 197bhp instead of 194bhp (the 200 and 197 are figures for metric horsepower). Torque stays the same, at 159lb ft, but peak twist and power are both produced 150rpm earlier than before, and Renault claims that a reworked cylinder head and ECU have greatly improved the amount of torque available beneath 3000rpm. Shorter first, second, and third gears help low-end urge, too.
In chassis terms Renaultsport has tried to widen the gap between the regular Clio 200 and the more hardcore Cup chassis variant. The normal car’s dampers are 15 per cent softer than a Clio 197’s, and feature what Renault calls ‘double-effect’ valves for improve ride during motorway cruising. The Cup model, meanwhile, has 15 per cent stiffer dampers than the 197 Cup, and stiffer springs (27 per cent at the front and 30 per cent at the rear) than the standard Clio 200. Cup cars are also 36kg lighter and feature a quicker steering rack, but they’re also less well specced; the dashboard is made from a harder plastic, and even air conditioning is an option.