Renault’s hot hatch on steroids, the Renault Clio RS.16, could soon be headed for the production line. And, in potentially good news for Aussie fans of the Reggie, a limited number could be built in right-hand drive – with a small allocation set for our shores.
While recent rumours hinted at Renault making an official announcement at the Paris motor show, no confirmation was forthcoming.
However, several senior Renault Sport executives told CarAdvice in Paris last week a decision would be made soon on the fate of what, for now, exists only as a concept car.
While Renault Sport boss Patrice Ratti remained tight-lipped on a timeline and indeed, on what is rumoured to be a very limited production run, he did reveal that the company was considering a small number of right-hand drive versions, should the hot hatch go into production.
“It can be both [left- and right-hand drive],” he said. “There’s a possibility between the UK and Australia to justify it.”
No decision has been made by senior Renault brass, however Ratti added he was keen to add the RS.16 to Renault Sport’s range.
“I’d like to have it,” he said. “Every week I hope there is a decision. But there are still a few things to check and some approvals [to wait for].”
Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar added he would welcome the Clio RS.16 to the Australian line-up.
The imminent decision on right-hand drive, if indeed it is made as tipped, should come as no surprise according to Jean Calcat, Renault Sport’s head of international sales.
“In 2015, which was the last full year of sales we had, Australia was the second-biggest seller of Renault Sport cars worldwide behind France,” he said.
The Renault Clio RS.16 made its public debut as a concept car at this year’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Even more powerful than the top-of-the-line Clio RS200, the RS.16 boasts 201kW of power at 5500rpm and 360Nm of torque between 3000 and 5000rpm courtesy of the two-litre turbocharged four cylinder lifted straight from its bigger brother, the Renault Megane RS275 Trophy R.
Adding further fuel to the speculation was a production mule spotted testing last month in Europe (pictured above).