The new Clio RS is here and many people will be surprised to hear that Renault has altered its recipe. The new ingredients include a double-clutch transmission (EDC) that has been developed in-house à la Volkswagen Polo GTI style. The gearbox itself features a launch control system that ensures the fastest possible getaway. The gearbox can be altered using the RS Drive function, which allows the driver to program gear shift times and gearbox characteristics using the normal, race and sport modes.
The other big change for this RS is the fact that it features a 1.6 turbocharged petrol engine, which is basically a Nissan Juke unit that has been fettled with by Renault Sport Technologies. It produces the same 147kW as its predecessor, but increases its torque from 215Nm to 240Nm. They key aspect of all Renault Sport vehicles has always been the chassis and in the new RS 200 EDC there is an electronic differential which limits understeer and maximises grip during corners and in a straight line.
The result of this power is a 0-100km/h time of 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 230 km/h. The downsized engine mated with the EDC gearbox means fuel returns claimed at 6.3 litres/100km and CO2 emissions of only 144g/km, making it some 25% more efficient than its predecessor.
The exterior design is understated, with the RS badging beneath the Renault logo and the LED daytime running lights in the lower part of the bumper being the only signs of its performance at the front. At the rear the rectangular exhaust tail pipes form a fully integrated part of the diffuser and rear lip spoiler, which contribute 80% extra downforce generated at the rear, while another 20% is generated by the lip spoiler.
The interior benefits from the optional in-dash RS Monitor 2.0 and R-Link system. The RS Monitor 2.0 provides histograms and graphics to real-time data such as torque, power, water temperature, intake air temperature, turbo pressure, throttle valve aperture, brake pressure, steering wheel angle, engine speed, transmission oil temperature, temperature of EDC clutches and wheel torque.
From a design perspective, the interior gets red accents throughout the cabin with red seat belts, instrument needles, stitching on the bucket seats and air vent surrounds, gear lever and gait as well as on the door paneling, which is offset by the grey steering-mounted gear shift paddles.
There will be two models entering the local market, namely the Cup and Lux, which can be differentiated firstly by the wheel size and colour. The Lux has 17-inch silver wheels and the Cup 18-inch black items. The Cup also receives extra dark tinted rear-quarter glass and rear screen is standard. The Cup also has a few optional extras such as the Sirius Yellow paint job and RS Monitor + R-Link systems not made available on the Lux.
Both variants come with ABS with EBA, ESC, cruise control with speed limiter, hill start assist and anti-slip regulation with full disable function, driver and passenger front and seat airbags, as well as chest and head ones for the passenger.
The new Clio Renault Sport 200 EDC Lux will retails for R294 900 while the new 200 EDC Cup starts at R314 900. Both come with a 5-year/150 000km mechanical warranty and a service plan of 3-yr/30 000km.