The Renault Clio GT 120 has been added to the range, aimed at plugging the gap between the regular models and the Renault Clio RS.
As its base, the Renault Clio GT 120 takes the standard 88kW/190Nm 1.2-litre turbo and six-speed dual-clutch automatic model – due to arrive in Australia later this year – then adds the 'Sport' chassis identical to that in the Clio RS200.
Compared with regular suspension, the Clio GT 120 gets 40 per cent stiffer front springs and 30 per cent firmer dampers, with bump stops also adjusted. It does, however, get the same 22.5mm front anti-roll bar as the regular range, not the 23.5mm bar fitted to the Clio RS200.
According to Renault, "[Sport] chassis incorporates features specifically designed to provide a keener handling edge than the core Clio range".
The Clio GT 120 isn't, however, available with the hardcore 'Cup' chassis that can be optioned on Clio RS200, and will be the only one available to Australian buyers when the RS launches locally next year.
Visual additions to the Renault Clio GT 120 include 17-inch GT alloy wheels, redesigned front and rear bumpers including gloss silver front flanks with LED daytime lights, body-coloured side mouldings with metal inserts, the rear spoiler from a Clio RS, and twin exhaust pipes. GT badging nestles underneath the Renault diamond badge at the front, and on the tailgate.
Borrowed from the Clio RS200 is R.S. Drive, which varies the weight of the electro-mechanical power steering assistance, and the mappings of the accelerator and dual-clutch transmission. In 'Sport' mode the throttle is more sensitive and gearshifts are faster. The Clio GT 120 does not get the even more aggressive 'Race' mode standard on the Clio RS200, however.
Inside, aluminium pedal caps, Renault Sport-badged sill guards and gearshift paddles mounted behind the leather-rimmed steering wheel are also pinched from the RS Clio, although the Clio GT 120 also gets unique upholstery with GT-embossed seats.
Options overseas include rear parking sensors, reversing camera, leather trim with heated seats, a fixed glass sunroof, and an R.S. Monitor 2.0 which, again, borrows digital displays from the RS Clio. All functions carry over including power and torque meters, oil temperature and turbo boost gauges, torque and G-force diagrams, and race track and standing start timing and logging.
As with the regular Clio 120 due to arrive locally later this year, the Clio GT 120 is a six-speed dual-clutch automatic-only proposition, reaching 100km/h in a claimed 9.4 seconds. Renault also quotes 0-400 metres in 16.9 seconds, and 80-120km/h kickdown in 8.1 seconds. The Clio GT 120 weighs 1090kg and slurps a claimed combined 5.2L/100km of 91RON unleaded or E10.
At the launch of the Renault Megane GT 220 Estate last month, Renault said it would expand its range of GT-Line cars, which are less hardcore than the dedicated RS models but are still tuned by Renault Sport. Overseas the Clio GT 120 is available in both five-door hatchback and wagon bodystyles, but only the hatch is a chance for Australia since the wagon is built only in left-hand drive.
"We are interested in the car," confirmed Renault Australia corporate communications manager Emily Ambrosy.
"We are a strong Renault Sport market ... it is not confirmed for Australia, but if it comes it would be after the regular Clio and the Clio RS."
The Clio range will start with the 0.9-litre three-cylinder turbo grade for around $17,000 when it launches here in August or September, rising through to the Clio 1.2-litre turbo with six-speed dual-clutch for circa-$22,000, while the Clio RS will follow for around $32,000 before March 2014. That leaves a $10K window in which to price the Clio GT 120 locally.