Renault SA recently introduced the latest derivative of the Clio GT-Line to the local media on a drive to the Vaal River.
Less than one month later, it was the twisting mountain passes of the Western Cape, where they unleashed two further models featuring the same strong athletic styling but with a hefty dose of steroids, the fourth generation of the iconic Clio RS.
In 1993, a sport version of the Clio arrived in the guise of the Renault Clio Williams, celebrating the Renault powered F1 team. This was followed by a series of performance versions. The second generation spawned the awesome Renault Sport Clio V6 with a three-litre V6 engine in lieu of the rear seats and delivering all 188kW through the rear wheels.
Later models from the French manufacturer’s performance division included the 182 Trophy, the 200 and 200 Cup and the Red Bull limited edition.
The Renault RS branding has proved popular in SA with over 3 000 units of both Clio and Megane sold since its introduction. The latest Clio RS is available as the Clio RS 200 EDC Lux and the Clio RS 220 EDC Trophy. Both share the same 1618cc 16-valve turbo charged engine but with different levels of tuning.
The Lux produces 147kW with 260Nm of torque, a claimed 0/100km/h time of 6.7 seconds, a top speed of 230km/h and fuel consumption of 5.9l/100km. The Trophy delivers 162kW also with 260Nm but that jumps to 280Nm with an over boost function, 0/100km/h takes 6.6 seconds, maximum speed is 235km/h and matches the Lux’s fuel consumption.
Power to the road is via the front wheels through a six speed EDC dual clutch automatic transmission which offers full manual operation with steering column mounted shift paddles.
The downshift paddle can be held back providing automatic selection of lower gears during braking, real F1 technology. Renault claim the shift is faster than many supercars.
The RS Electronic Differential uses ABS and ESP sensors along with the braking system to ensure correct power distribution.
RS Drive allows the driver to select three driving modes, Normal-Sport-Race to transform the car’s characteristics to the driver’s requirements.
The Clio styling features wider front and rear bumpers giving more road presence with RS badging prominently displayed both front and rear, the C-shaped LED lights up front surmount the new RS Vision units.
These chequered flag shaped lights are housed within the front bumper and are a very efficient adaptive lighting system, providing fog and cornering lights from an 18 watt source.
The rear houses C-shaped LED tail lights and twin exhaust outlets on either side of the RS diffuser.
The Lux stands on a set of 17 inch silver alloy wheels carrying 205/45R17 rubber, while the Trophy, with its lower ride height, 20mm at the front and 10mm at the rear, nestles on 18 inch gloss black alloy wheels fitted with Michelin Pilot Super Sport 205/40R18 tyres. Both cars have disc brakes all round with 260 mm solid discs at the rear and 320mm ventilated discs up front.
As a serious track contender the Trophy suspension is 15% stiffer at the front and 20% at the rear and is fitted with an Akrapovic developed exhaust system the only car in its class to offer this as standard equipment.
Although performance orientated, both models offer a considerable selection of creature comforts as standard.
High quality materials are used throughout the interior and details such as the red trimmed air vents, red stitching on the gear lever, handbrake and steering wheel plus Renault Sport bucket seats with RS embossed headrests set the tone. Fabric covered seats on the Lux and leather on the Trophy, the latter also providing electric seat heating.
Cruise control with speed limiter, automatic rain and light sensors, automatic climate control, a hands free card key, stop/start facility and a 7 inch touchscreen serving navigation, multimedia and Bluetooth connectivity are just part of the overall offering.
Apart from the normal functions the touchscreen also displays data such as throttle and braking applications, graphics of engine performance, G forces and a lap timer. All such information is downloadable to an SD card. Safety is always paramount on Renault’s agenda and the Clio RS is no exception, 5 star rating assuring occupants are well protected.
ABS with EBD and EBA are joined by ESC (Electronic Stability Control) with ASR (Anti-Slip Regulation) for active traction control.
Further features are HSA (Hill Start Assist), driver and passenger head and chest front and side airbags, height adjustable driver and passenger seat belts with pretensions and load limiters, plus Renault’s unique Anti-submarining system, the Fix4sure seat design located in the front and the rear.
On the road the difference between the two is made obvious on the first stretch of rough surface when the Trophy’s stiffer suspension attempts to remove your dentures, but remember that this model is really for those who put performance over comfort. If you’re not one of the former then aim for the Lux.
I cannot hope to convey the sheer joy of driving these true thoroughbreds in the short space I have, so let me just say that if you love driving a car that stimulates your visual, audio and tactile senses and splits your face from ear to ear with the biggest smile ever, on a drive that you don’t want to end, look no further than these superb French Masters.
- Renault CLIO RS 200 EDC LUX R379 900
- Renault CLIO RS 220 EDC TROPHY R419 900
- Optional metallic paint: R2 500
- Special metallic paint: Sirius Yellow and Frost Pearl White R10 000
Pricing includes a five-year/150 000km mechanical warranty and a six-year anti-corrosion warranty. A three-year/30 000km service plan with service intervals of 10 000km.