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Friday 15th February 2013


RENAULTSPORT CLIO 200 - FULL DETAILS

Sub-£20K, gadgets galore and a promise it'll keep hardcore appeal while playing to a wider audience too


Just how many words does it take to explain the new Renaultsport Clio 200? 5,721 according to the press release that's just thudded into our inbox. This, on top of a personaland assertive endorsement by Renaultsport MD Patrice Ratti, batting aside concerns about the 200's five-door only format and dual-clutch transmission by saying "call me when you've driven it."

New Renaultsport Clio 200 - in your face!
New Renaultsport Clio 200 - in your face!
That'll happen in a month. As long as it took to wade through the press release, or so it felt. We've done it so you don't have to, and now we present a few reasons why we should, perhaps, be excited about the new Clio 200. And why Mr Ratti seems so confident.

One number glaringly absent is the price; numbers are being crunched as we write. A Renault contact confirmed sub-£20K and that 'we're fully aware of Focus ST and Peugeot 208 GTI pricing' which would put it, respectively, somewhere between £22K and £19K. £19,995 then?

In such a competitive sector, price margins are amplified. Clearly the Clio isn't going to be the cheapest, but Renault is keen to point out where your money goes.

Five doors, turbo, dual-clutch and gizmos galore
Five doors, turbo, dual-clutch and gizmos galore
Chassis-wise you get ‘pseudo-MacPherson strut’ front suspension with, Renault says, ‘sturdier elements’ to increase stiffness, not the Perfohub offset steering axis set-up used on the outgoing 197 and 200. The new 200 also features hydraulically-damped bump stops, which enables the suspension to work fully through its stroke, and not rebound harshly when bottoming out. There's no mechanical limited-slip diff like the Megane's but an 'eLSD' will simulate its effect. And there'll be an optional Cup chassis running 15 per cent stiffer springs and 3mm lower too. This will include black 18-inch wheels shod with Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres.

The turbocharged 200hp 1.6-litre engine promises greater flexibility than the normally aspirated 2.0-litre it replaces, not to mention friendlier emissions and fuel consumption - 144g/km and 44.8mpg officially.

But it's the onboard gadgetry where Renault is really staking the new 200's reputation. The standard R-link touchscreen nav system incorporates second-gen Renaultsport Monitor 2.0. Which means proper telemetry and data-logging, downloadable to a USB stick and viewable through software coming 'at a later date.' A full hour of driving data can be stored in a single 3mb file, matching GPS data and in-car parameters for throttle position, gears, steering angle and the rest that'll finally prove, without a doubt, that you were flat through Craner Curves. Or whichever corner you happen to have been going around.

Settle those online 'how fast?' arguments
Settle those online 'how fast?' arguments
There's also the, er, R-Sound Effect app, which reproduces a choice of seven classic engine notes over the speakers and varies them according to throttle position to complete the effect. This is just a bit of fun though - real engine noise is filtered into the cabin via the, arf, RS Sound Pipe which uses an amplified membrane to give a more 'true' impression of proper engine noise.

But the three-mode RS Drive and its interaction with the EDC gearbox, throttle response, engine noise, steering, stability control and launch control is where the gizmo overload really kicks in, bringing M5 or Nissan GT-R levels of configurability to the hot hatch market for the first time. Normal, Sport and Race modes deliver three different combinations of a dozen different parameters, Race offering the most hardcore with fully manual shifts and electronic safety nets fully disengaged.

Which brings us to 572 words, or a tenth of what it took Renault. More once we've driven it...

 

 

Author: Dan Trent
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