200. That's a mighty big number for such a tiny car, but it's the horsepower figure that Renaultsport's latest hot hatch packs beneath its bonnet. And while it may be only three measley horses more than the 197 version on which it's based and replaces, Renault's performance and motorsport division has worked to improve the aerodynamics and cut weight to make each one count more.
Complimenting the mid-cycle revised styling of the entire Clio range, the Clio RS 200 and 200 Cup benefit from Renault's Formula One program, with which the French automaker attributes the aerodynamic expertise implemented on its latest hot hatch. Air passes over the front splitter to feed the the revised 200-hp, 2.0-liter 16-valve four-cylinder engine, but it also goes underneath to the flat rear bottom and exits the fully functional rear diffuser. The design also pushes air around the wider front fenders, past the side vents and around the widened track to give the new Clio RS its performance edge. The aerodynamic enhancements gives the car an even meaner look, while customers can choose from a wider variety of look-at-me colors, contrasting with either black or anthracite-finish trim.
Inside it's all business: the compact steering wheel has perforated leather trim with a yellow strip to show when it's centered, and Recaro racing buckets are available along with leather upholstery. Unfortunately the car isn't available Stateside, but across the pond the new Clio Renaultsport 200 starts selling next month at £16,570, while hardcore enthusiasts can save a bit and get the even more focused, stripped-down Cup version for £15,750. Follow the jump for all the details in the press release, and check out the images in the gallery below.
New Clio Renault Sport the most efficient hot hatch of its category
* Clio Renaultsport launched in two versions: Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup and Clio Renaultsport 200
* New, more aggressive design with F1-style frontal aerodynamics, new alloy wheels and rear diffuser
* Independent steering axis front suspension with revised suspension and steering settings for the standard and Cup chassis
* More powerful engine with improved low-down torque, economy and emissions
* Best power-to-weight ratio in its class (166hp per tonne)
* Extensive personalisation choices with interior and exterior colour options available through the Renault i.d. programme
* UK launch 15th May with first deliveries from end of June
* Priced from £15,750 on the road
Since 2000, the successive variants of Clio Renaultsport have resulted in it becoming the most popular hot hatch of its class, with over 70,000 worldwide sales. The Renaultsport version of the brand's best-selling model has been unanimously praised by enthusiastic owners as one of the market's best hot hatches, and also one of the most fun to drive. The challenge faced by the engineers from Renault Sport Technologies was to build on the existing qualities of Clio Renaultsport 197 and take its inherent strengths and dynamism to a new level.
New exterior design
Clio Renaultsport 200's performance credentials are evident in its exterior design. Its styling includes aerodynamic features which take their inspiration from the world of Formula 1:
* an aerodynamic blade built into the front bumper
* front wing air-extractors and a rear diffuser, two technologies which form a package that is unique in the hot hatch market.
A powerful stance
As with the Clio Renaultsport 197, compared to the standard Clio, the wings are 30.5mm wider to accommodate the wider front and rear tracks which have been extended by 48mm and 50mm respectively. The more aggressive frontal styling incorporates a new, generously-sized, low-positioned air intake, designed to feed cooling air to the normally-aspirated 200hp 2.0 16V engine.
The sills, extractors and wider front and rear wings all highlight the performance credentials of Clio Renaultsport 200 which features Renaultsport's new styling cues in the form of the Renault i.d. Design Pack: a two-tone colour scheme based on a choice of Gloss Black or Anthracite finish for the front bumper centre section and blade, door mirror housings and rear diffuser. The diffuser now incorporates more visible twin exhaust tailpipes. A new design of alloy wheel completes the revised appearance.
Clio Renaultsport 200 sees the introduction of a brand new, exclusive Alien Green pearlescent paint finish. The pearlescent Liquid Yellow returns to Clio Renaultsport 200 after only being available previously on the limited-edition Clio Renaultsport 197 F1 Team R27. Mercury also becomes available for the first time joining the Glacier White, Ultra Red, Racing Blue and the metallic Albi Blue, Nimbus and Deep Black.
Aerodynamics derived from Formula 1 technology
Clio Renaultsport 200's aerodynamics include a new frontal blade, front-wing air-extractors and a rear air diffuser, a development which is unique for this segment. Thanks to these features which take their inspiration from Formula 1, Clio Renaultsport 200's aerodynamic drag has been cut by 0.02 compared with that of its predecessor to 0.753.
The extractors visible on the front wings contribute to the car's aerodynamic performance by neutralising the turbulence produced by the wider wings and play a part in improving the model's CdA. They also facilitate the extraction of hot air from underneath the bonnet, while the vents are angled to channel airflow along the sides of the car for enhanced performance.
Clio Renaultsport 200 is also equipped with an air diffuser, an aerodynamic feature normally only found on high-end sporting cars. Air passing underneath the vehicle is channelled via the flat bottom to the diffuser where it accelerates before being expelled at a higher speed. Combined with the shape of the diffuser, this creates a zone of depression under the car, sucking the chassis to the ground. Compared with a conventional wing, diffusers generate significant downforce without resisting forward movement. On a track, at 80mph, lift is reduced by almost 40kg. The diffuser is designed to function in association with the rear flat bottom which leaves space for the exhaust silencer and lateral-mounted tailpipes.
In addition to the exterior personalisation, the interior can also be tailored to suit the owner's taste thanks to a new range of finishes and upholsteries with Renault i.d.
The interior performance credentials are mirrored in details such as the aluminium pedal facings, as well as by the perforated leather-covered steering wheel with visible stitching and yellow centre-point marker. The unique Renaultsport seats are exceptionally comfortable and ensure a high level of body-hugging lateral support. The new yellow rev-counter includes an audible and visible gearshift indicator to help optimise gear changes. The size of the figures displayed on the rev-counter increases as the needle approaches the red zone. Renaultsport badging is visible inside the cabin on the rev-counter background, sills and front seats.
With Renault i.d., customers have a choice of three interior trim colours (Grey, Yellow or Carbon for the seats, seatbelts and fascia trim) enabling customers to personalise their car to their taste. Customers looking for additional luxury will be tempted by the optional leather upholstery.
Seats designed and developed in association with Recaro continue to be available. They are equipped with lateral airbags, plus a rigid, glass-fibre/polyamide-injected shell which provides the sort of all-enveloping experience associated with motor sport. The slots for the harness belts and integral headrest add a further sporty touch, while at the same time holding occupants firmly in place.
New suspension settings
As with the previous Clio Renaultsport 197, Clio Renaultsport 200 benefits from significant changes compared with the standard version of Clio. The front and rear tracks are wider by 48mm and 50mm respectively and the wheelbase is extended by 10mm to 2,585mm for greater stability.
The front suspension's independent steering axis layout is unique to the B segment. This technology significantly reduces torque steer under acceleration. Unlike a MacPherson-type arrangement, the steering axis of the front suspension is totally independent of damping. To minimise weight, Clio Renaultsport 200's independent steering axis front suspension employs aluminium components and guarantees precise handling and outstanding traction whatever the conditions. The rear suspension is based on that of Clio 2009 and features a programmed deflection torsion beam which has been uprated by 25 per cent to complement the efficiency of the front's independent steering axis layout for precise, immediate turn-in.
In response to customer demand, the suspension settings for both the standard car and the hard core, Cup set-up have been revised.
Standard chassis: efficiency and comfort
The development of the standard chassis from the Clio Renaultsport 197 was guided by a bid to strike the best possible balance between performance and comfort when driven daily. Clio Renaultsport 200 marks an improvement in terms of comfort over its predecessor thanks to:
* new damper settings (15 per cent softer),
* the use of hydraulic double-effect dampers. The energy which needs to be dissipated is absorbed in part by an additional level of valving. The performance of these new dampers is particularly appreciable on longer journeys and motorway drives.
Meanwhile, body movement is kept in check thanks to the larger diameter front anti-roll bar, up from 20mm to 21mm. Specifically-developed Continental Sport Contact 3 tyres (215/45 R17) ensure swifter, more precise steering response. The new design of the standard aluminium alloy wheels is now 1kg lighter and the ensuing gain in terms of unsprung weight contributes further to the new car's enhanced steering response and crisp acceleration.
The 'Cup' chassis: glued to the road
New Clio Renaultsport 200 is also available with the Cup chassis which has been engineered to deliver an exacting ride and uncompromising driving enjoyment. Its ability to corner flat is enhanced by:
* uprated dampers (15 per cent stiffer) compared with the Cup setting on Clio Renaultsport 197
* stiffer springs compared with the standard chassis (uprated 27 per cent at the front and 30 per cent at the rear) for even better handling
The ride height remains 7mm lower than that of the standard chassis and the resulting lower centre of gravity ensures improved cornering performance thanks to reduced weight transfer. Torsional rigidity has been improved by 10 per cent enabling the potential of the independent steering axis front suspension to be fully exploited.
Last but not least, the Cup chassis now comes with a higher ratio steering rack (7.5% quicker than the standard chassis) which, combined with other specific development work, favours feedback to the driver in conditions of varying grip.
The Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup weighs 1204kg boasting the best power-to-weight ratio in its class at 166hp per tonne.
The Cup chassis and steering setting is standard on the Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup and optional on the Clio Renaultsport 200. Externally it can be identified by anthracite finish to the alloy wheels and red brake callipers.
Powerful, durable brakes
Clio Renaultsport 200's powerful, durable brakes combine with the latest Continental Sport 3 tyres (215/45) to guarantee stopping distances identical to those of very high-end sporting models. Pedal travel is progressive and easy to gauge. The 312mm-diameter ventilated front discs are paired with four-pot Brembo callipers, while the 300mm-diameter rear discs function with single-piston TRW callipers.
More power and efficiency
Clio Renaultsport 200 is powered by the latest-specification normally-aspirated 2.0 16V engine (F4R RS). With a specific power output of more than 100hp/litre, this powerplant delivers an extremely high level of performance for the hot hatch segment. In addition to the gains achieved at low revs, peak power has been increased by 3hp to 200hp at 7,100rpm. Meanwhile, the low-end (below 3,000rpm) torque boasted by Clio Renaultsport 200 has been boosted by an impressive 20 per cent over that of the 197 thanks to a new cylinder head and fine-tuning of the engine mapping.
The first, second and third gear ratios have all been shortened for punchier acceleration and to facilitate motoring in built-up areas. This engine drives through a manual six-speed gearbox (TL4) and claims maximum torque of 215Nm at 5,400rpm (compared with 5,500rpm for Clio Renaultsport 197). Clio Renaultsport accelerates from standstill to 62mph in just 6.9 seconds and on to a top speed, where permissible, of 141mph.
Despite the power increase, an illustration of the development work that has gone into this powertrain has resulted in its fuel consumption and CO2 emissions being slightly reduced to 34.4mpg in the combined cycle and 195g/km.
TWO DISTINCT VERSIONS
To meet customer demand even more closely, the Clio Renaultsport 200 range is offered again in two distinct versions:
* Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup - for enthusiastic customers who are passionate about their driving. This version has the Cup chassis as standard
* Clio Renaultsport 200 - for customers looking for a well-equipped performance car. This version has a higher level of standard equipment. The Cup chassis setting is available as an option.
Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup
Clio Renaultsport 200
Despite its compromise-free, performance intent, the Clio Renaultsport 200 is equipped with a particularly generous equipment specification to simplify and enhance life on board.
The standard equipment specification on the Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup includes the following;
* Cup chassis - lower ride height, stiffer springs and dampers, anthracite colour to the wheels, red brake callipers
* Electric windows
* Six airbags - auto-adaptive driver and passenger, lateral airbags and anti-submarining front seat airbags (the anti-submarining airbags are not fitted to the optional Recaro Renaultsport seats)
* ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution
* Disconnectable ESP stability control
* Rake-adjustable steering column
* Leather steering wheel
* Multi-function trip computer
* 4 x 20W RDS CD MP3 radio with fingertip steering column controls and RCA socket
* 17" Renaultsport alloy wheels
* ISOFIX child seat mounting points on outer rear seats
* Thatcham category 2 alarm system
* Drilled aluminium pedal facings
* RAID (Renault Anti Intruder Device) which automatically locks the doors at over 5mph
* Black door mirrors, gloss black finish to the rear diffuser and the centre section of the front bumper
To this comprehensive standard equipment package, the Clio Renaultsport 200 adds the following equipment:
* Climate control
* Renault Hands Free Keycard
* Reach-adjustable steering column
* Renaultsport leather steering wheel with yellow centre marking
* One-touch electric windows
* Three height-adjustable rear head rests
* 60:40 split folding rear seat
* Cruise control
* Speed limiter
* Curtain airbags
* 17" Renaultsport alloy wheels in silver
* Front fog lamps
* Electrically-adjustable and heated door mirrors with gloss black finish
* Automatic headlamps and windscreen wipers
* 'Soft-touch' fascia with zinc-coloured matt finish to the centre console
* Body-coloured side mouldings
* The Cup chassis is optional on this version
On the 200 Cup, customers can also choose from options such as manual air conditioning (£550), a choice of different wheel designs (Raider, white or black Speedline, all at £175), Recaro seats (£850). On the Renaultsport 200, customers have a wider choice including the new Carminat TomTom®, the first integrated GPS navigation system for just £450, Cup chassis (£400), Renault i.d. exterior pack in anthracite. (£150), Renault i.d. interior packs (carbon or yellow, £100) or Renault i.d. leather upholstery (£900)
Clio Renaultsport 200 ordering opens 15th May with the first UK deliveries from the end of June. Customers can find out more details at www.renaultsport.co.uk