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by Tim Beissmann

The all-new Renault Clio RS200 Turbo will be quicker, lighter and more fuel efficient than the car it replaces.

Renault has confirmed the technical specifications of its new city-sized hot-hatch ahead of its international launch next month and Australian introduction early in 2014.

The new 1.6-litre Renault Clio RS200 Turbo pocket-rocket will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 6.7 seconds, stopping the clock two-tenths of a second sooner than the outgoing naturally aspirated 2.0-litre model.

The Renaultsport’s new smaller forced-induction four-cylinder delivers 25Nm more torque than the old engine, and offers its peak 240Nm output across an impressively broad 1750-5500rpm rev range – bettering the old mill’s momentary 5400rpm peak. Peak power carries over at 147kW but now arrives 1100rpm sooner at 6000rpm.

The new Clio RS200 Turbo tips the scales at 1204kg, making it 36kg lighter than the lightest version of the previous Renaultsport Clio and 77kg lighter than the Australian-spec RS200.

That’s despite the new model being available only as a five-door with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission – a significant philosophy shift from the Renaultsport Clio’s traditional three-door/manual set-up.

Fuel consumption has also been cut by almost a quarter, down to 6.3 litres per 100km based on European testing.

The Clio RS200 Turbo will be the first produciton car to feature hydraulic compression stops in its shock absorbers – technology used widely by rally cars – which Renault says should ensure road surface imperfections are better absorbed and the tyres are subjected to less extreme load variations, increasing the potential for frontal grip.

Renault also claims the Clio RS will become first ‘sub-supercar’ to feature a transmission with a multi-change downshift function, making it possible to drop several gears at once under braking by keeping the relevant steering wheel-mounted paddle depressed.

Three drive modes – Normal, Sport and Race – are accessible via the car’s RS Drive button, which modifies the engine and transmission mapping, power steering feel, and intervention of the stability and traction control systems. The most hardcore Race setting completes gearshifts in 150 milliseconds, offers a launch control function and completely disengages stability and traction control.

Like all Renaultsport models, the new RS200 Turbo will be available with a standard Sport chassis and the optional Cup set-up, which sits 3mm lower, is 15 per cent stiffer and benefits from a quicker steering rack.

The RS Sound Pipe channels amplified engine noise directly into the cabin, while the R-Sound Effect application built into the car’s R-Link infotainment system allows drivers to select from seven iconic engine sounds, including the Alpine A110, R8 Gordini and Nissan GT-R, to be replicated through the car’s loudspeakers using realtime driving data.

The R-Link system also features a touchscreen display with access to the R-Link app library, satellite navigation, and an RS Monitor displaying performance data, G Force diagram, power and torque curves, and a stopwatch and data logger for track drivers intent on sharpening their times and skills.

Like previous models, the Clio RS200 Turbo will be produced at Renault’s high-performance factory in Dieppe, France, where each car takes 26 hours to be assembled – longer than the standard car due to a greater attention to detail applied in its assembly.

The standard Renault Clio range goes on sale in Australia in the third quarter of 2013.




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