Renaultsport boss: exclusive interview at the Paris show

The development boss of Renaultsport has defended the decision to switch the next generation Clio RS to a turbocharged petrol engine.

Renaultsport boss: exclusive interview at the Paris show

The development boss of Renaultsport has defended the decision to switch the next generation Clio RS to a turbocharged petrol engine.

‘We chose the 1.6 turbo for many reasons,’ Christophe Besseau told evo at the Paris motor show, CO2 and fuel economy were two of them, but so was performance, and the driving pleasure of the immediate torque.’

The Clio gets a version of Nissan’s 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, and although its 198bhp output is more than in the standard Nissan Juke DiG-T it will be matched by the forthcoming Juke Nismo (which also made its debut in Paris.) Despite the two cars’ close mechanical relationship, Besseau insisted that there was only ‘limited contact’ between the two development teams.

Besseau was also predictably keen to justify the decision to only offer the Clio with a twin-clutch gearbox, telling evo that ‘this will be a first for Renault.’ There are no plans to offer a manual gearbox with the RS Clio, nor a stripped out ‘Cup’ version – instead the firmer ‘Cup’ chassis settings will be an option on the standard car.

evo also learned that the RS Clio will have a three mode dynamic selector switch, with standard, ‘sport’ and ‘race’ settings. The only way to fully deactivate the stability control will be to switch this into ‘race’, which will also alter the throttle mapping, gearbox software and the assistance of the electric power steering system. Let’s hope that the finished article doesn’t lose the driving purity that’s made previous RS versions of the Clio firm evo favourites.

Besseau also confirmed that there are no plans for a diesel version of the Renaultsport Clio, although it’s still possible that we’ll see an oil-burning version of the Megane RS. And it’s still possible that we will see faster version of the Megane before it is replaced in two years’ time in response to the Astra VXR.

‘It’s very important for us to be in the top three,’ Besseau told us, ‘but preferably the top one.’

> More Paris motor show news here

Most Popular

2021 Mercedes C-class revealed – all-new 3-series rival to channel S-class luxury
2021 Mercedes C-class revealed - front tracking
Mercedes C-Class

2021 Mercedes C-class revealed – all-new 3-series rival to channel S-class luxury

New C-class to launch as four-cylinder only; AMGs expected to be the same
23 Feb 2021
Will synthetic fuel save the performance car? The manufacturers weigh in
R8 Filler cap
Porsche

Will synthetic fuel save the performance car? The manufacturers weigh in

Porsche claims a car running on eFuel will have the same CO2 footprint as an EV, and BMW, Audi, Aston Martin and McLaren all agree
24 Feb 2021
Lexus IS500 F Sport revealed – naturally aspirated V8 sports saloon is back
Lexus IS500 F Sport -
Lexus

Lexus IS500 F Sport revealed – naturally aspirated V8 sports saloon is back

It’s a recipe that AMG, BMW and Audi say no longer appeals, but Lexus has gone its own way, with an almighty catch
22 Feb 2021