Renault launches Clio RS

renault-clio-rs01Renault’s street legal racer is back, and it’s looking really good! With go-kart like handling and great engines, previous Renaultsport Clios have already claimed their places in the hot hatch hall of fame. But can the French firm improve what was already a winning formula?

As the new name suggests, reworking the 2.0-litre motor has resulted in an extra helping of horsepower… all 2kW of it. Maximum torque of 215Nm is now delivered at 5,400rpm – 150rpm lower than in the previous Clio RS – while first, second and third gears have been shortened to improve acceleration. Fuel economy and CO2 emissions show a slight improvement too, at 8.1L/100km and 195g/km.

Customers can choose between Sport and Cup chassis. The former puts the emphasis on comfort and throws in more standard kit, while the Cup is engineered for uncompromised driving pleasure.

A lower ride height, 15 per cent stiffer dampers than the current Clio RS and a quicker steering rack ensures the Cup-spec car feels alive in your hands. But it’s not just for experts – the chassis is beautifully forgiving. Charge into a corner too fast, and a sharp lift of the throttle wipes off the understeer and tightens your line – it really is a flattering car to drive fast.

A rear diffuser, front splitter and boot spoiler not only help to build downforce at speed, but give the car its trademark racy styling. New additions include a revised front end with lower front air intake, new lights and a gloss-black grille. If that’s not enough to get you noticed, the Alien green paint certainly will!

If creature comforts are your thing, look away now: the Cup interior is the same as the entry-level Clio’s. All you get is electric windows and a simple stereo – there’s not even air-conditioning. But it does help shave 36kg off the kerbweight, and keeps the price tag low at £15,750. For that sort of money, nothing comes close to offering the Clio’s dynamics. Source: SaCarfan

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