The new 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder is big news for the pocket rocket. It produces the same 147kW (200hp) as the outgoing RS Clio’s normally aspirated 2.0-litre, though torque increases by 25Nm to 240Nm.
Significantly, that torque is also delivered all the way from 1750rpm to 5600rpm, which should make the 1.6-litre better for everyday driving.
Power will continue to be sent to the front wheels, though there’s also a change of transmission, with a manual gearbox making way for Renault’s first twin-clutch system that it calls EDC, for efficient double clutch.
Renault says performance times won’t be released until the car’s media launch in early 2013, and only says fuel consumption is notably improved.
Two chassis set-ups will be offered in what has become RenaultSport tradition.
A Sport chassis is for buyers looking for a balance of sportiness and comfort, while a Cup chassis that is 15 per cent stiffer and 5mm lower is designed for hardcore enthusiasts.
Renault says the new Clio RS will deliver “edgy performance”.
Drivers will also be able to tailor the car’s behaviour depending on driving mood. An RS Drive button offer three modes – Normal, Sport and Race – which offer different responses of throttle, gearbox and steering, as well as the stability control threshold.
The sound of the car can also be personalised with a so-called R Sound Effect, which Renault says allows owners to pipe a choice of iconic engine sounds through the Clio’s audio speakers.
Bucket seats aim to keep the driver secured during keen driving, and there will be comfort-focused features such as touchscreen satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, hands-free key card and optional parking sensors with rear-view camera and climate control.
The exterior design delivers a sportier take on the new Renault Clio that also debuted at the Paris motor show and will come to Australia in 2013.
The styling includes inspiration from Formula One, in which Renault competes – in areas such as the front blade and the rear diffuser and spoiler the company says generate 80 and 20 per cent downforce respectively.
The grille, LED daytime running lights and front and rear bumpers are also unique to the RenaultSport Clio 200 Turbo, which sits on 17-inch alloy wheels as standard with 18s available as an option.