Paris 2012: Clio Renaultsport 200
(Thursday 27 September 2012)
The latest in a very long line of Renault Clio hot hatchbacks has been revealed at the Paris Show. The Clio Renaultsport 200 departs from tradition in two important ways, the most obvious being that it's the first Renault of its kind to use a turbocharged engine. The 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol unit produces a maximum of 200bhp, like its immediate predecessor, but thanks to its forced induction it is far more flexible, with maximum torque of 177lb/ft available all the way from 1750rpm to 5600rpm.
Also unlike previous models, it has an automatic gearbox, or more accurately a twin-clutch semi-automatic. Known as EDC, it can be operated using steering wheel-mounted paddleshifts and has three modes, the most sporty of which (called Race) involves gearchanges lasting just 0.15 seconds.
A system called RS Drive offers three modes too, each of them involving different settings for the engine mapping, suspension, Electronic Stability Control, steering assistance and throttle response. There's even, through something called R-Sound Effect, a choice of engine sounds transmitted through the audio speakers.
As in the past, there will be two "chassis" (actually suspension set-ups). Sport is intended to give "an optimum balance of sportiness and comfort in everyday motoring", while Cup is a bit more serious, giving 15% more stiffness and a 5mm lower ride height.
Performance figures have not yet been released, but Renault is claiming a reduction in fuel economy which should also mean a lower CO2 figure. When driven hard, though, there's not much reason to think that this Clio Renaultsport will actually get through any less petrol than the current model does.
Standard equipment includes touchscreen satellite navigation, a hands-free key card, Bluetooth connectivity and the usual auxiliary inputs for the audio system. Parking sensors, a rear-view camera and climate control air-conditioning are all optional.
More information on non-Renaultsport versions of the new Clio here.