Renault Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo review

It's the new Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo. What would Nicole and Papa think?

By Tim Kendall | 8th July 2013

Vital Statistics

  • Model: Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo
  • Engine: 1.6 Turbo petrol (197hp)
  • Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch
  • Price: £18,995 (£21,295 as tested)
  • 0-60: 6.7 secs
  • Top Speed: 143 mph
  • Economy: 44.8 mpg (combined)
  • Options fitted to test car:
    See Text

Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo. What is it?

Of the numerous imitators  inspired by Wolfsburg’s famous son, arguably the French played the most convincing hand against the Golf GTI when Peugeot launched the iconic 205 GTI. But then Renault and the Williams F1 team hopped into bed and gave birth to the Clio Williams in the early ’90s. And Renault has held onto its performance hatch mojo ever since, with a succession of engaging and brilliant hot Clios that appealed to the keen petrolhead and gave a Gallic shrug to anyone tedious enough to question the unapologetically hardcore recipe.

The latest in the spicy Clio dynasty is this all-new fourth generation car – the Renault Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC. But is it the full Vindaloo or has the latest RS Clio gone a bit Korma? DrivingTalk has driven it.

2013 Renault Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo EDC

Has the new Clio Renaultsport gone soft?

 

The new Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC. What is it?

Quite a mouthful for starters. But the headline news sits under the Renault Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo’s skin – although you’ll note that as an all-new Clio, it looks a bit different too – more on that later.

Under that Depardieu-esque snout is, you’ve guessed it, a turbocharged motor. It’s a 1.6-litre unit which replaces the third-gen Clio’s 2.0-litre naturally aspirated motor and pumps out a handy 197hp (200 being the output in PS). What it’s supposed to do, along with being kinder to the planet and Renault’s fleet average emissions, is offer better drivability than the outgoing RS Clio thanks to a wider spread of torque – it delivers its 177lb ft much lower down the power band at 1750rpm. You’d need to crank the old one up quite a bit more to deliver the full twist – but for some that was the whole point.

Renault Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo EDC

The nose is slightly bulbous but underneath lies a potent motor

The other quite significant nugget about the 2013 Clio Renaultsport 200 is the gearbox. EDC stands for ‘Efficient Dual Clutch’ – and that means this hot Clio is a two-pedal affair. That’ll have some drawing hard on a Gauloise in disapproval, but in the name of progress it helps the Clio nail a claimed 44.8mpg combined economy figure, and appeases those who baulk at the thought of a waggling a manual lever around.

Will the Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo look good on my driveway?

Well there’s little point in wading into such a subjective debate, suffice to say that if Nicole were to clap eyes on the latest Clio, I think a coquettish shrug would be about all she’d muster. As for Papa, I think he might just hang up his keys and buy a Mobylette. Ugly? Not at all, but to these eyes lacking the purity and simplicity of the original and the neatly resolved proportions of its predecessor.

Renault Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC

Nicole?

Maybe it’ll be a grower, and at least in the test car’s Liquid Yellow (a £1,300 option) it turns a few heads. There’s neat detailing too – like hidden rear door handles and a natty looking rear diffuser/ exhaust arrangement.

What about the new Clio Renaultsport 200’s interior?

It’s a nice place to be inside the Clio Renaultsport 200. A tablet-style touchscreen dominates the dashboard and controls functions like the sound system, optional TomTom navigation and Renault’s ‘R-Link’ software which integrates with a range of downloadable apps such as email connectivity and the slightly gimmicky Clio-R Sound Effect. That last one allows you to pipe the sound of a Nissan GT-R through the speakers. Silly, but fun.

Renault Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC

The Clio 200 Turbo is well-appointed and solid inside. Obligatory iPad-style display too.

Renault Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC

That’s the button for RS Drive which unleashes all manner of Va Va Voom

Elsewhere, quality is really quite good, with a solid feel to most of the primary controls as opposed to the brittle, flimsy affair you might expect from a French hatch. Red accents abound – from the seatbelts to the steering wheel, door trims and gearlever. The overall effect from inside the Clio 200 Turbo’s cabin is a welcome sense of occasion.

And how does the Renaulsport Clio 200 Turbo EDC drive?

It’s an easy thing to hop into and just drive. Stick the EDC ‘box in drive and bumbling around town is a cinch – considerably more so than the more highly-strung previous RS Clio. Arguably that first few miles in fully automatic mode sets the tone for this new hot Clio’s character. It’s more biddable and likely to appeal to more people, more of the time.

Renault Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC

But that’s not to say it’s a dullard. Far from it. For a start, it’s quick – two tenths faster to the magic 62mph than the old car. The wider spread of torque also means pretty stonking B-road pace can be summoned very easily. You’d need to be in the right gear with the engine on the boil for the old one to come alive – the 200 turbo delivers easier thrills more of the time.

If you’re feeling dangerous, delve into the RS Drive mode which allows you to toggle between three levels of Va Va Voom. ‘Normal’ is just that, whilst ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’ modes offer more steering resistance, sharper throttle response and gearshift times and reduces the level of nannying from the stability control. In fact, race will switch the safety net off entirely and give you complete manual control of the twin-clutch ‘box, should you fancy turning your knuckles white.

Pudding or soufflé? How does the Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo EDC handle?

Some might say it’s not as focused as the old car, but really, it’s a hoot. There’s lots of mechanical trickery in the suspension and front diff with this latest hot Clio, and it shows. In fact, drive down a country lane trying to collect an asbo and it’ll hang on very well – but you get the feeling that beneath the surface the new hydraulic bump-stop technology is peddling rather hard to keep you out of the nearest ditch. Similarly, the electronic ‘RS Diff’ does what it’s supposed to very well. Which is quelling understeer and wheelspin by shuffling the power around and individually braking wheels – you can feel it at work and it does the job of making this a rapid point-to-point hatch.

Renault Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC wheels

The gloss black 18″ wheels are part of the £650 Cup chassis package

Renault Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC

Some nice details mark out the latest hot Clio

The test car came equipped with the Cup chassis option, which at £650 adds lower and stiffer suspension, gloss black 18″ rims and sticky Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres. It’s not too firm for the rubbish UK roads and endows the Clio with decent body control without being unduly bone-jarring.

So, Renaultsport’s chassis boffins know how to fettle and they’ve fettled the new Clio 200 Turbo really very well I’d say.

Options fitted to test car:

Liquid Yellow paint, Cup chassis with 18″ gloss black alloy wheels and Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres, Rear parking camera

Renault Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo pictures

Visit the Renault UK website

2013 Renault Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo EDC

Renault Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo review

  • Performance: 8/10
  • Ride & Handling: 8/10
  • Economy: 7/10
  • Equipment: 7/10
  • Want one factor: 7/10

The Verdict

There's no doubt that the Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo is a lot of fun. The performance is usable without being tiresome to extract, whilst the duality of character offered by the new EDC gearbox adds a new dimension to the sporting Clio's already polished repertoire. The elephant in the room is of course the highly competent - and cheaper - new Fiesta ST - but DrivingTalk hasn't driven that one yet. No, it isn't the full Vindaloo - but the old Clio's audience was limited for that very reason. You buy a hatchback to use, not as a weekend toy and the fact the new Clio Renaultsport fulfils that brief better than the old one is reason enough to give Renault a round of applause.

Summary

  • More accessible performance
  • Won't please the hardcore fans

By Tim Kendall
8th July 2013

Comments

  1. Nepenthe says:

    The 2.0 200 is more than useable outside of being a weekend toy.

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