Find a car review

Make
Model
Group tests

evo car of the year 2009 - Renaultsport Clio 200 Cup

‘The Clio carries implausible speed’ evo 133

The 200 Cup moves the hottest Clio into the zone that made the more heavily evolved editions of the previous generation so magical. Should the Focus RS be afraid? Mildly concerned at the very least.

Not at the numbers – 197bhp, tweaked torque and shorter intermediate gearing go a long way in the little Renault, but the only car it will be overtaking on the straights is the MX-5. Rather, it’s the way a brilliant chassis preserves the speed generated by that game, high-revving 2-litre four-pot motor. Expect to see the Clio’s nose filling the rear-view mirrors of some vastly more expensive and powerful machinery in the coming pages. All right, the ride is very firm, but in a good way: no harshness or jarring but an almost Elise-like poise that combines extremely precise control with suppleness. Just as with the Mégane R26.R, it feels special within the first few hundred metres.

Subscribe to evo magazine

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

But it’s when the roads on Skye start asking questions that might cool the pace of some contenders that the Cup should really shine. It’s a car that refuses to be fazed, continuing to cover the ground at an undiminished lick while maintaining a beautifully judged balance between sheer speed across the ground and throttle-induced entertainment. It has a lithe, sinewy athleticism that manages to carry seemingly implausible speed into and out of corners without wasting energy but, if you want to play games with the throttle, the Cup will oblige with just the right degree of rear-end mobility. A real contender.

Position five verdictThe fact that the £16K Clio comes in fifth probably doesn’t come as a surprise but the simple fact that it made the cut shows that it’s one very special little car. Vivian sums it up perfectly. ‘We tend not to talk about ‘fun’ when we’re in analytical mode but that’s what the 200 Cup delivers in spades. It’s such a cohesive package; there just seems the right amount of everything and everything works in perfect harmony.’

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

‘The roads today haven’t helped and I do think it is slightly over-awed in this company,’ says Harris, ‘but it’s still, for the money, staggering, isn’t it?’ Two of us reckon it might have done even better had it been the more supple non-Cup chassis…

Specifications

RankingFifth
LayoutFront engine, front-wheel drive
EngineIn-line 4-cyl, 1998cc
Max power197bhp @ 7100rpm
Max torque159lb ft @ 5400rpm   
Weight1204kg
Power-to-weight166bhp/ton   
0-60 mph6.6sec
Top Speed141mph (claimed)
Basic price£16,175
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/best-cars/201772/best-v8-cars-past-and-present-our-favourite-eights-and-the-cars-theyre-found-in
Best cars

Best V8 cars past and present – our favourite eights and the cars they’re found in

Whether it’s smooth and sophisticated or motorsport-like in its aggression, the V8 remains one of our favourite engine types, warts and all
20 Sep 2019
Visit/spy-shots/201770/porsche-cayman-gt4-rs-spied-718-to-receive-rennsport-treatment
spy shots

Porsche Cayman GT4 RS spied – 718 to receive Rennsport treatment

More power, more aero and less weight are already on the cards for Stuttgart’s fastest Cayman
19 Sep 2019
Visit/hyundai/i30-n-hatchback/201775/hyundai-i30-n-versus-hyundai-i30-tcr
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can evo magazine’s Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to f…
20 Sep 2019
Visit/article/201613/goodyear-eagle-f1-supersport-picked-by-porsche
Sponsored

Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport - picked by Porsche

Goodyear has many close associations with premium global car brands, but being asked to develop a trackday tyre for Porsche's extreme 911 GT3 RS was a…
14 Aug 2019