Renault Clio S – Click above for high-res image gallery

Every so often, Renault impresses and teases us with the launch of a new hot hatch. Impresses because they're widely rated as some of the most dynamically competent micro-machines on the road today. Teases because, well...they don't offer them in North America. So all we can do is admire from abroad such offerings as the Twingo 133 Cup, Clio 200 and Megane R26.R, to name just a few.

The range is set to expand both upwards (with the likes of the new Gordini line-up) and downwards (with the adoption of the GT range), but every once in a while, Renault fakes us out with something that when it comes down to it, really only looks the part. The World Series editions were one recent example, and now the French automaker has launched the Clio S for the British market.

Sure, the Clio S looks the part. It's got 16-inch wheels, a spoiler on the trailing edge of its roof, a front lip spoiler below the grille and racing stripes galore, all done up in contrasting white. But the Clio S lacks the go to back up the show. Engines are limited to 75- and 100-horsepower fours and an 86-hp diesel. Not exactly Renaultsport figures, but then neither are their prices, ranging from £11,209 to £13,458 all-in (that's around $18k-22k USD, not accounting for the UK market's inflated pricing). So for the moment, we can rest easy this time around, neither impressed nor enticed. Details in the release after the jump and photos in the gallery below.

[Source: Renault]
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* New Clio 'S' designed to give sport-look and accessible style with affordable prices and frugal engines
* Clio S range priced from £11,209 to £13,458 on-the-road
* Available to order now and in showrooms from March

While its flagship Renaultsport models continue to raise the hot hatch bar and obliterate their rivals in equal measure, Renault is also seeking to bring the sporty look and feel to the core Clio range with the launch of a new 'S' version.

Resurrecting the successful Clio S formula from the early 90s, the new three-door versions hark back to the original through their trademark white 16-inch 'Polar' alloy wheels. Among the other cosmetic changes, are a white front bumper insert and white 'GT' rear spoiler, while to the sides and roof, some optional slightly less subtle white racing stripes catch the eye with an 'S' incorporated into each band. Completing the package, are extra tinted rear windows and tailgate for a truly contemporary look.

The sporty theme continues on the inside, with a bespoke interior including 'S' embossed upholstery, leather steering wheel and striking white centre console, dashboard inserts and instrument dials.

The new entrants are based on the Expression specification, currently only available on five-door. They come with a choice of three responsive and frugal engines, 1.2 16V 75, 1.2 TCe 100 and 1.5 dCi 86, all of which meet Renault's eco2 criteria.

Pricing for the new Clio S versions starts at £11,209 on-the-road for the 1.2 16V 75, rising to £13,458 for the 1.5 dCi 86 A/C. Buyers have a choice of four colours for the latest addition to Renault's ever-popular supermini range: Glacier White, Pearl Black, Capsicum Red and Extreme Blue.

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