The new Clio 4 is a big deal for Renault, it’s the mainstay of the range and the model which will fuel the car maker’s growth into new sectors, including their all-important electric vehicle Z.E. range, currently defined by the Twizy, Zoe and Fluence.
But before we get too sensible, let’s not forget that the Clio Renaultsport models are usually also the most fun cars to drive, so it’s good to see Renault using the new Renaultsport 200 Turbo as the flag-bearer for the new larger, but lighter Clio.
Powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine mated to EDC dual clutch transmission, New Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo loses 400cc over its predecessor, but thanks matches its power with 197bhp at 6,000 rpm. Thanks to the new turbocharged powerplant the Renaultsport 200 Turbo delivers 177lb-ft (240 Nm) of torque from just 1,750 rpm up to 5600rpm, which is 18lb-ft (25Nm) more than the ‘peaky’ performance of the outgoing Clio Renaultsport 200, which delivered its 158lb-ft maximum torque at 5400rpm.
Patrice Ratti, Managing Director of Renault Sport Technologies, said “The expertise of Renault Sport Technologies is reinforced by long-term programmes in the most demanding types of motorsport, including racing and rallying. It is this experience which makes us so passionate about handling feedback, and you can feel this the moment you drive any of the Renault performance derivatives we have developed.
“We’re also proud to be producing the Renaultsport in Dieppe, home of Alpine, and delighted to be using the EDC gearbox in a Renaultsport version for the first time.”
While a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine might sound a little ordinary compared to its 2.0-litre naturally aspirated predecessor, Renault has pulled out all the stops to ensure it’s a truly ‘sporting’ engine. Featuring DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) cam followers developed from Formula One and Variable Valve Timing (VVT), the Renault Sport have even paid close attention to the exhaust note of their new hot hatchback.
The development team are particularly proud of the dual clutch EDC gearbox, which in ‘race’ mode can execute gear changes in just 150 milliseconds. The EDC transmission is said to be docile in daily driving, but can be quickly cranked up for more sporty driving, selecting from a choice of three different modes.
The reduction in engine capacity combined with EDC has allowed Renault to cut the Clio Renaultsport’s emissions by 25%
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Anyone who’s spent time in the previous Clio Renaultsport 197 and 200 will know that the stand-out feature is its chassis. Thankfully that’s remained high on the list of priorities focused on by Renault Sport.
The Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo will again come with the choice of two different chassis; Sport – for an optimum balance between sportiness and comfort, and Cup – which is 15% stiffer and 5mm lower and is intended for track day enthusiasts.
The braking system of the Renaultsport 200 Turbo also comes in for some improvements, featuring larger 320mm diameter discs at the front which is a +8mm increase over the outgoing Clio Renaultsport 200.
Renault claims the overall feel of the RS Clio will be one of ‘edgy’ performance, but it promises the car’s famed balance between the engine, transmission and chassis will be maintained.
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Other features of note include a new ‘sport’ button named R.S. Drive. Pressing the button modifies the engine and gearbox mapping, ESC settings, steering feeling and throttle pedal response. It works in three modes (‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’) and gives the Renaultsport 200 Turbo a multi-dimensional character.
In the same spirit, Renault’s engineers have adapted R-Sound Effect for the New Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo by adding specific engine noises. Using Renault R-Link, this application simulates the noise of one of a range of iconic engines through the car’s speakers, tuning it to the speed and acceleration of the car.
They claim it’s a fun and realistic way of choosing your favourite engine noise, but we’ll reserved judgement until we can try it for ourselves.
The Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo runs on 17″ alloys as standard, with larger 18″ alloys available as a cost option. The rear is distinguished, as before, by twin exhaust tailpipes and a characteristic roof-mounted rear spoiler.