Renault Clio RS: baby hot-hatch uncovered

CarAdvice's spy photographers have captured the all-new Renault Clio RS and what is believed to be the sportier Gordini variant almost entirely undisguised as the French hot-hatch enters the final stages of testing.
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Differentiating the new Renaultsport model from the standard Renault Clio range is a broad front lower air intake that once again incorporates an F1-inspired aero splitter, as well as the car’s lower ride height, larger wheels and brakes and sportier rear end with a bigger spoiler and diffuser.

The black prototype appears to be the standard Clio RS, while the white vehicle is believed to be the hotter Clio Gordini RS given its split tailpipe layout and larger matt black wheels.

The new 2013 Renault Clio RS will be a very different car to the city-sized Renaultsport hatchback it replaces.

The new model will trade the existing car’s naturally aspirated 2.0-litre engine for a turbocharged 1.6-litre powerplant.

As it has over the previous four generations, power is expected to climb marginally, while the new forced induction arrangement is rumoured to boost torque to as high as 270Nm.

Renaultsport has pulled another 180 in the transmission department, switching from exclusively manual gearboxes to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic unit with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

More torque, faster gearshifts and a reduced body weight (the standard Clio IV shed around 100kg compared with the old model) should see the new model improve markedly over the outgoing car’s 6.9-second 0-100km/h sprint.

Unlike the current Clio RS200 that comes only as a three-door, all new Clio Renaultsports will be five-doors, with the rear door handles concealed in the C-pillars to mimic a coupe profile.

The new Clio Renaultsport is expected to hit Australian showrooms around the end of 2013, following the reintroduction of the standard Clio range in the middle of the year.

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