Vijay Pattni14 February 2013

Renault Clio RS 200: full details

Halo hot hatch is lighter, quicker and first RS to get dual clutch gearbox…

Renault Clio RS

What you're looking at above is a turbocharged, dual-clutch gearbox equipped Renaultsport Clio; a sentence you, or indeed we, never thought we'd utter.

But, these are the times we live in, so welcome everybody, to the brand new Renault Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo. Yes, it's the new version of one of TG's very favourite little hot hatches.

Of course, we gave you a sneak peek of this Sunny Delight last year when it was previewed at the Paris Motor Show. Renault has very kindly released all the information on the upcoming hot hatch, which goes on sale later this year.

See new pics of the Renault Clio RS 200 Turbo

So, gone is the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated unit of old, and in comes a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-pot petrol engine developing 200bhp and 177lb ft of torque. That's 18 more torques than before, and helps propel the new Clio RS from 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds, and on to a top speed of 143mph. That's plenty fast in something as big as a shoe.

We're assured however, that "in less extreme circumstances", the Clio can be driven in a "docile manner", even achieving a claimed 44.8mpg and emitting 144g/km of CO2. We do not understand "less extreme" here at Top Gear, but there are three available engine modes: ‘normal', ‘sport' and ‘race', and some of this engine note is piped into the cabin too. Interestingly, Renault footnotes this engine as "a preview of the configuration that will become mandatory in F1 from 2014..."

It's underneath however, where the Clio RS simply must shine: the last one threatened an all-out assault on our fizz gland. So Renaultsport engineers wanted minimal body roll, "huge" straight-line and cornering ability, great steering and a comfortable ride. As such, it gets a ‘pseudo' MacPherson strut layout up front with a larger damper (better for the compromise between comfort and body roll, apparently), along with a thicker rear anti-roll bar 10 per cent stiffer than the old Clio RS's.

There's also a secondary damper within the main damper that has been honed in rallying, which helps to absorb poor surfaces, and aids "progressive handling" during ‘brisk' driving. It also gets an electronic differential (no mechanical diff here) that limits understeer by braking whichever front wheel has lost the most grip. And brake it will: monster 320mm discs sit up front.

For proper, driving-gloved wheelsmiths, there's the option of the Cup chassis: 3mm lower than the standard RS, 15 per cent stiffer and with an even quicker steering rack.

If you can tear yourself away from staring at the hairpin you've just blatted (or indeed, while you're sitting in a hedge waiting for the AA), take time to admire Renault's new RS Monitor 2.0, which gives you lots of interesting and informative telemetry trivia with which to bore your friends with. Stuff like performance data, G force, torque and power curves, temperatures, pressures, settings and even a service indicator. Think of the friends you'll make!

So, there you have it. Prices will be announced before the month ends, and you'll be able to order it from April. We'll reserve judgement until we've driven it, but does the idea of a turbocharged Clio RS with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox make you jump with glee or cower in terror?

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