PARIS 2012: ALL NEW CLIO RENAULTSPORT
It'll be steak hache all round for lunch, given all the sacred cows Renaultsport has slaughtered
Or is it just the pervading sense that there's nothing false, contrived or out to flatter your ego here? The Clio 200 is raw and pure: what you get out of it is what you put in. Been there, done that. The hooning bit, not the TWOCking, we mean.
Plus it's launching at the same show as the 208 GTI, Peugeot's first concerted attempt to live up to the considerable reputation of its defining hot hatch, the 205 GTI.
Some work for the PR department, then. We'll be talking exclusively with Renaultsport to get the inside line on exactly how the new Clio 200 can hope to live up to, and exceed, the considerable talents of the outgoing car. Watch this space.
In the meantime, some numbers. The 1.6-litre turbo - which shares family genes with the comparable Nissan motor used by cars like the Juke 1.6 DIG-T and, er, Deltawing - gets a bit of Renaultsport fairy dust and now puts out 200hp. The significant character shift is the turbo-enhanced torque delivery, dumping the peak 177lb ft in your lap at 1,750rpm rather than the 5,400rpm the current 200 demands for its weedier 158lb ft. Which, coincidentally, is just 200rpm away from where the new car's torque curve starts tailing off.
That, along with the paddle-shifter operated EDC twin-clutch (six gears, three modes), is going to make for a very different character. Likewise the fact that the purity of the outgoing car is replaced by gadgets like the R-Sound Effect that - brace yourself - "simulates the noise of one of a range of iconic engines through the car's speakers." This is, claims Renault, a "fun and realistic" way of tuning the engine noise. Shall we mention the PH response to the M5's similar function now, or later? Gulp...
We'll await our Renaultsport man's comments with interest. In the meantime Renault UK has confirmed that pricing will be announced in February, with sales beginning early Summer.