Renault and Williams destined for Clio hot hatch glory

July 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Back in the early ’90s Renault and Williams were dominating Formula One, and their success led to the creation of one of the best known hot hatches of all time. Now, with news that the two are getting back together for the 2012 F1 season, rumors have started flowing that they’ll once again collaborate on a new Clio-based hatch that could prove a very special machine.

This new hot hatch won’t be built overnight with little chance of Renault simply slapping on a new coat of paint, bigger alloys and some special badging. Instead, rumours are suggesting some major engine mods could result in a new Clio Williams that may produce as much as 180kW of power.

That figure is a large step up on the current Renaulsport Clio’s 146KW, and could even be enough to trouble its big brother – the 184kW Renaultsport Megane. The hot hatch could also include a chassis setup similar to the RS Clio Cup cars, but with the Sachs dampers from the more hardcore 2005 Clio Trophy and the brakes and rolling stock from the Megane Trophy car. Continue reading “Renault and Williams destined for Clio hot hatch glory” »

Renault Clio: A real car for real Living

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Beverly Hills Renault Clio advertisementt

Renaultsport Clio 200 Cup vs Ford Focus RS

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

The chase is on around the Millbrook testing ground

What’s chasing the Ford Focus RS?

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

So what is keeping on the tail of the 300hp Ford Focus RS?

Renault Clio III GT 2009

December 17th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Static and driving shots of the Renault Clio III GT

Renault releases updated Clio Renaultsport 200

May 6th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Renaultsport Clio fq

Renaultsport’s latest hot hatch now comes with 200 ponies packed beneath the bonnet. While this is only three more horses than the Clio 197 version on which it’s based and replaces, Renault’s performance and motorsport divisions have worked hard to improve the aerodynamics and cut weight to make the extra power count even more.

Reflecting the mid-cycle facelifting of the entire Clio range, the Clio RS 200 and 200 Cup apparently benefit from Renault’s Formula One program, which brought the aerodynamic expertise implemented on its latest hot hatch. Air passes over the front splitter to feed the the revised 200-hp, 2.0-litre 16-valve four-cylinder engine, but it also surges underneath to the flat rear bottom and rushes out the rear diffuser. The aerodynamic enhancements helps give the car an even more agressive look, while customers can choose from a wider colour palette, contrasting with either black or anthracite-finish trim.

Inside the Clio has a compact steering wheel with perforated leather trim with a yellow strip to show when it’s centered, and Recaro seats are available along with leather upholstery. The new Clio Renaultsport 200 starts selling next month in the UK at £16,570 ($43,000 NZ), while hardcore enthusiasts can get the stripped-down Cup version for £15,750 ($40,930 NZ).

Renault to rebirth Gordini performance brand

March 9th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Renault Gordini

While it may seem like a bad time to bring back a performance marque, that’s just what Renault has planned according to a UK car magazine. Renault will relaunch the Gordini brand in Europe next year. It was recently revealed that Renault’s plans to bring back its storied Alpine product line had been axed, but the decades-dormant Gordini is apparently a different matter altogether.

The new range of hot hatches will slot in above current Renaultsport offerings, with a new Twingo variant reportedly being followed by Clio and Megane Coupe models. Like the Gordini-tuned cars of the past, the new models are tipped to wear blue paint and white stripes along with various performance upgrades that will make them a likely competitor to Fiat’s reborn Abarth lineup.

Renault Clio III 5-door Dynamique 2007 Review

October 4th, 2007 by Darren Cottingham

Renault Clio III 2007 fq

First launched over 17 years ago at the Paris Motor Show, Clio (being the Muse of History) is now a particularly apt name for Renault’s small and economical city car. It’s lauded as the car that saved Renault after a dismal decade beforehand, and has written a chapter in Renault’s success that has seen the Clio as one of the top selling cars in Europe since 1992.

Despite winning the European Motoring Journalists’ Car of the Year in 2006 this third-generation Clio doesn’t shout about its success. In fact, it’s quite possibly the quietest car I’ve driven. The 1.6-litre engine isn’t stressed producing the 82kW and 151Nm of torque, and that equates to fairly frugal motoring but lethargic performance (0-100 takes 12.2 seconds).

It also has a more mature and understated presence than its 1.4-litre predecessor. A low window line gives a sense of spaciousness inside. The slightly protruding rump is in keeping with the rest of the Renault range.

I had to revert to the instruction manual to find out how to turn on the cruise control and speed limiter. Once it’s activated, Renault’s system of letting you see the actual speed you’ve set as opposed to guessing by the position of the needle is a useful and practical solution to keeping at or under the speed you want.

Audio controls for volume are on a stubby wand on the steering column, augmented by a wheel control for frequency and buttons to choose the source. The FM stereo/CD player takes one disc and has a reasonable sound quality through its 6 x 15W speakers. The display is positioned at the top of the console on the dashboard and it also shows the outside temperature and time.

Positioned prominently in the console are the very simple controls for the air conditioning. Sometimes I yearn for a back-to-basics approach in this area, often finding that with today’s more complex climate control systems it takes too much effort just to get it to blow cold or hot. No such problem in the Renault with a clearly marked temperature dial consisting of blue lines and red lines. Retro!

For a small car, it has impressive safety features. A five-star Euro NCAP safety rating comes courtesy of a barrage of airbags and injury-minimising technology. Six airbags (including lateral and side curtain airbags the length of the cabin), and seatbelt pretensioners do their job should the ABS, electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist (EBA) not keep you out of trouble. Fuel is automatically cut in the event of an impact.

The Renault is slightly more expensive than other cars of this size because of the multitude of little things you get, like an air-chilled glove box, air recycling and particle filter, leather steering wheel and gear lever boot, fully telescopic steering wheel adjustment, trip computer and tinted glass.

Seventeen years of history has bred a car that is safe and handles well. Here’s hoping that there’s a hot hatch version on the way like the Clio 182.

Price: from $28,990

What we like

  • The little things
  • Quiet
  • Comfort
  • Handling

What we don’t like

  • Renault recommends premium fuel

Words and photos by Darren Cottingham

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