America may be better known for its muscle cars than its hot hatches, but those who prefer their power sent to the front wheels with a liftgate at the back aren't exactly hurting for choices these days. Americans can stop by their local dealership and put in an order for a Ford Fiesta ST or Focus ST, Fiat 500 Abarth, Mini Cooper S or Volkswagen GTI or Golf R – excellent choices all, but that's still only a fraction of what our European compatriots have at their disposal. Automakers like Se
In the United States, our hot hatchback options are growing, with cars like the Ford Focus ST, Fiesta ST and the new Mini Cooper S keeping American drivers entertained alongside more traditional models like the Volkswagen GTI. What drivers in North America don't get to experience, though, is the French take on la voiture chaude. Considering that, we figured it was high time we took a look at one of the top European hot hatches, the Renault Clio RS.
Renault may not compete with its arch-rival Citroën at the top of the World Rally Championship, but head out to any lower-level rally and you're bound to see some of its competition-spec machinery entered by privateer teams. Renaultsport offers rally teams the Twingo R2 Evo, Twingo R1 and Megane N4, and is now bolstering the Clio Renaultsport R3 with the new R3T version.
A new Renault Clio is due to be revealed at the 2012 Paris Motor Show in September, and based on these spy shots, it appears that also means a reveal of the Clio RS. Caught by the lenses at CarPix, several changes to this model versus the standard Clio seem to identify it as the hot hatch: larger front intakes, wheels and brakes, front LEDs relocated to the bumper, and a diffuser between twin pipes out back.
As a Formula One entity, Renault has gone from engine supplier to full manufacturer (having acquired the Benetton team back in 2000) and back to engine supplier (having all but completely divested the team now under the Lotus banner). The French automaker's competition engine works also powers Caterham and Williams this season, but most importantly, the Red Bull Racing team that is returning once again as World Champions. So whereas previous Renaultsport special edition hot hatches celebrated th
Everyone's favorite car show is slated to return sometime next month, but we've got little indication of what to expect. We'll know soon enough, but before the first episode of the new season of Top Gear airs – likely with a teaser of what's to come – we've got these snapshots to go by.