To put that number into perspective, consider that it was the same time recorded by the previous 987-generation Porsche Boxster S. It's also 36 seconds faster than the existing Clio RS 200 Turbo on which it's based, and three seconds faster than the far more powerful previous-gen Ford Focus RS (8:26) that the same publication tested at the legendary circuit in 2009. Not bad considering that, as the name suggests, the Clio Trophy packs "only" 220 horsepower.
Mind you, that won't be setting any outright records, even for front-drivers. Larger, more powerful models like the Honda Civic Type R, Seat Leon Cupra, and Renault's own Mégane RS can duke it out for top honors. The Clio RS instead goes up against smaller entries like the Ford Fiesta ST, Volkswagen Polo GTI, Peugeot 208 GTi, and Opel Corsa OPC. And not one of them has clocked a faster 'Ring time to date.
Renaultsport rolled out its latest hot hatch at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, silencing critics who said it was going soft. The hotter version keeps the four-door setup, turbocharged engine, and dual-clutch transmission for which the existing Clio RS 200 Turbo was criticized. But for the Trophy variant, Renaultsport extracted more power from the engine, shortened shift times, retuned the suspension, recalibrated the steering, and upgraded the rolling stock. And as you can see, the enhancements have done the trick.
The Renault Clio R.S. 220 Trophy has set a new lap time on the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife, in 8 minutes, 23 seconds. This new benchmark was recorded by Christian Gebhardt, editor of German trade magazine Sport Auto, as part of a super test published in the January 2016 edition on 11 December 2015.
By setting this new fastest time around the 20.832-kilometre long circuit, the Clio R.S. 220 Trophy has set itself apart from both its direct competitors and several considerably more powerful sports cars.
The small yet fierce Renault Clio R.S. 220 Trophy dazzled in Sport Auto's super test, setting a wonderful time for a hot hatch around this demanding rollercoaster ride of a racetrack. As well as being 15 kW (20 PS) more powerful than the standard production car, the limited edition model is equipped with exceptionally direct steering, electronic differential lock (R.S. diff) and an electronic stability system that can be switched off. Its sport braking system and specially designed sport chassis make it perfectly suited to the racetrack, while the front differential lock ensures optimal traction and enables early acceleration out of corners. "The way this Clio has mastered the Nordschleife with a 1.6-litre turbo engine is astonishing," said Christian Gebhardt, Sport Auto editor and experienced racing driver. "Everything just comes together perfectly."
Oliver Gaudefroy, Managing Director of Renault Deutschland AG, is proud of the Clio R.S. 220 Trophy's lap time. "Renault and motorsport have always been inextricably linked," he explained. "Our new technologies transfer particularly well to the hot hatch segment, where Renault Sport cars can look back over a long and successful own-make cup series history."