The one thing I didn’t realise at the time is that, as a daily drive, the car was far better all-round than the previous models; the public at large want automatic gearboxes, more efficient turbocharged motors and what do Brembo’s matter on the road anyway?
There’s a new model?
So, Renault Sport has made a car that has broader appeal, but what about the enthusiast who wants something that feels a bit more hardcore? I travelled to Paris and visited Renault Sport Technologies (RST) who were kind enough to let me drive the Clio that, as I discovered, is probably the car that the new Clio RS should always have been, the RS 220 Trophy EDC.
When Renault places a Trophy moniker on a car it normally means business and this new model is no different. For starters, RST slapped a bigger turbo, revised downpipe and redesigned intake to the Nissan-derived 1.6-litre turbocharged motor for a power increase of 20 horsepower, hence the RS 220 nomenclature.
This means the car now puts out 164kW and 260Nm with 280Nm on over-boost in fourth and fifth gears. The 0-100km/h time has been cut from 6.7 seconds to 6.6 seconds, while the top speed is now 235km/h. After driving the car I have to say that in a straight line it doesn’t feel significantly faster, but you are aware that there is something extra in the way of poke.
The chassis has also been tweaked and is now 20mm lower up front and 10mm lower at the rear for reduced roll and improved stiffness. The steering rack is faster too, while the car is fitted with stickier Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres. These changes make the car feel far more responsive in the corners; it feels like a Renault Sport with the stiff ride that one expects of a hardcore variant.
Then for the pièce de résistance, which is the revised gearbox, which now provides 40 percent faster shifting in Normal and Sport modes and 50 percent faster cog-swapping in Race mode. In my opinion, this is the single most important change made to the car. Not only does it make the car feel more eager in daily conditions, but when pressing on, you feel that the gearbox is with you and not struggling to keep up. The car even makes those desirable burps from the exhaust on up-shifts in Race mode.
The aesthetics of a range-topping model are important too and in that department the car has also been altered. There are Trophy badges and stickers in all the right places, while the wheels are now diamond-cut.
There’s also a new exterior colour called, frost white, which gives the car a lovely matte finish, while the roof is in gloss black. The standard colours are also available throughout the range. The interior looks different too, with newly designed seats that look racier and carbon-look trim and chrome air-vent inserts.
The Trophy is currently being marketed in European countries and it has been confirmed that this model will be coming to local shores, albeit in limited numbers. Expect it here before the end of 2015. Pricing and specification are to be confirmed at a later date.