While changes are only relatively minor – there’s still no manual transmission option, for instance – they should make the new Clio R.S. just that little more appealing than the outgoing car.
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Power comes from the same turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder as before, and still offers two different power outputs – a 197bhp entry-level model, and a 217bhp R.S. Trophy model. Both use a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, dubbed EDC in Renault parlance.
The more powerful of the pair delivers a 0-62mph time of 6.6sec and clears the 400m sprint in 14.5sec, with a 146mph top speed. The Trophy is now also available with an Akrapovic exhaust system, which should cure the current model’s disappointingly bland exhaust note.
Three chassis options are available: Sport, Cup and Trophy. The latter is available only with the 217bhp engine and pairs 18-inch alloy wheels with lower suspension – 20mm at the front and 10mm at the rear.
The basic Sport setup uses either 17-inch or 18-inch wheels and is the softest of the three, while the middle-ground Cup models use 18in alloys and a firmer setup. All three come with launch control, Renault’s R.S. Drive system with Normal, Sport and Race modes, and hydraulic bump stops.
Visually there’s not much to distinguish the new car from its predecessor (and the interior too looks little different). Most distinctive is the new ‘R.S. Vision’ lighting setup, like that of the Clio R.S.16 concept, that pairs LED headlights with LED lights in a chequered flag arrangement in the front bumper.
Joining the revised Renault Sport range is an updated GT Line model, which adopts some of the R.S.’s visual cues, and pairs them with a less potent engine, 16- or 17-inch alloy wheels and a new exhaust pipe.
Orders for all the new models open in September with deliveries beginning in the autumn. Full pricing and specification information will be available closer to launch.