The Clio RS 200 EDC has a 197bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine that drives the front wheels through the six-speed ‘Efficient Dual Clutch’ gearbox that lends this model its initialised suffix, alternatively if you want a bit more overall power there is 217bhp RS 220 Trophy available too.

The powertrain difference from the previous Clio couldn’t be more marked. Offered with a six-speed manual only, its 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine wanted revs to give results and it produced its 197bhp power peak at 7250rpm. This time around, peak power arrives by 6000rpm and, significantly, peak torque of 177lb ft starts at 1750rpm.

Anyone who doesn't get on with dual-clutch 'boxes won't be driving one of these any time soon

The chassis – a steel monocoque – is more familiar. It’s a five-door-only, 4062mm-long, conventional supermini shell. There are MacPherson struts at the front and a rear torsion beam. It’s available in two settings: standard chassis and the Cup variant.

Our test car was the Cup, which has 3mm lower suspension, 15 percent stiffer springs and a quicker steering rack. Both models have what Renault calls an RS Diff, an electronic differential, although its technical bumf reveals that it works on the brakes rather than through the diff.

It monitors differences between front wheel speeds, and differences between rear wheel speeds, and applies light braking to a spinning front wheel accordingly, without affecting power delivery (thus acting on the differential, which will apportion more power to the outside).

It works independently of the traction and stability control systems, which can be reduced in their intrusion or switched off entirely.

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