Want to know who makes the fastest compact hot hatch? According to Sport Auto, it's Renaultsport with the latest Clio RS 220 Trophy, which clocked a Nürburgring lap time of 8 minutes and 23 seconds.
Going to most races means watching the action from behind a fence or from high up on grandstands, but rallying often gives spectators the chance to get closer to the competition than practically any other forms of motorsport. If people are willing to put themselves in danger, they're able to sit right at a corner exit and watch the cars hurtling toward them. However, the Jolly Rally al Colle San Carlo in Italy got a lot less jolly recently, when an out of control vehicle nearly struck a group of
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.
This commercial starts off quietly enough, with some potential customers arriving at a Renault dealership in England for a test drive of the new Clio compact with a salesman. The drive route takes them to a nondescript intersection where the customer is told to try out the "Va Va Voom" button, and that's where the Frenchy action begins when a pop-up theatrical production materializes around the car, with everything from baguette-selling cart pushers to young lovers in the crosswalk to burlesque
While we wait for the 2013 Renault Clio RS to come out from under its camo, the fourth-geneeration Clio hatch it's based on has just been fully revealed. The new car has been given gifts from every department: it's lost 220 pounds, its design showcases the French marque's new corporate identity, under the hood it gets new engines (including the company's first three-cylinder), a dual-clutch transmission, and infotainment moves on a step with the customizable R-Link touchscreen system and R-Link
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.
We don't need to tell you why rally racing – though awesome – is incredibly dangerous. As much as we love to watch turbocharged, all-wheel-drive Euro hatches being flung around on dirt, gravel, snow and tarmac, the fact that many of these races go through small towns and wooded trails leaves plenty of room for disaster.
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
Renault's handling of its Gordini revival has been disappointing. After starting off with Gordini appearance packages on the Renaultsport Clio and Twingo performance cars, Renault has elected to just dilute the Gordini moniker by applying it to the base Twingo and Wind Roadster, budget vehicles with no more sporting pretension than the stripes slapped on 'em. Now the base Clio is getting an all-show, no-go Gordini package as well.
Back in the early '90s, Renault and Williams were dominating Formula One, and their success spilled over into one of the most celebrated hot hatches of all time. And now that the two are getting back together for the 2012 season, rumors are afoot that they'll collaborate on a revival that could prove one very tasty beast indeed.
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