The Renault Clio RS 16 concept has been unveiled ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Formula One Grand Prix, celebrating both Renault Sport’s 40th birthday and Renault’s return to Formula One.
Developed by a “commando team” over the course of five months, the Clio RS 16 concept melds the Clio body and platform with the drivetrain of the Megane RS275 Trophy R, and parts adapted from other Renault models – including, perhaps oddly, the Kangoo and Espace.
With the Clio’s body only able to accommodate, at most, 18-inch wheels, Renault Sport was forced to trim the fenders and fit wheel arch extensions at both ends.
By widening the body by 60mm, the engineers were able to endow the Clio RS 16 with 19-inch wheels and a bolder, more planted look.
The Clio RS 16 rides on 235/35 Michelin Pilot Sport SP2 tyres all around, and utilises the Trophy R’s one-way adjustable shock absorbers. Stopping power is provided by 350mm discs up front and 260mm discs at the rear.
The team’s pièce de résistance, however, was in blessing the Clio RS 16 concept with the Megane RS 275 Trophy R’s engine.
That means there’s a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine under the bonnet with 201kW of power at 5500rpm, and 360Nm of torque between 3000 and 5000rpm.
Up front, the RS 16 features a new front splitter that’s better at funnelling air into the 2.0-litre engine.
Drive is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and a specially designed front axle.
For this Clio concept, the 201kW engine is hooked up to a silencer-equipped Akrapovic exhaust system, which, according to Renault, makes “a rather pleasant sound”.
Renault has yet to provide performance figures for the RS 16, but expect it to easily outperform the Clio range’s current production champ – the RS220 – which has 162kW/260Nm 1.6-litre turbo engine and claims a 0-100km/h time of 6.6 seconds.
Talking about the RS 16’s genesis, Patrice Ratti, managing director of Renault Sport, said: “We all recalled the impact made by Clio V6.
“We wanted to create a technical concept car with extraordinary performance levels, but which was more realistically priced.”
Renault has yet to confirm whether it has production plans for the Clio RS 16, but given the amount of effort put into this concept, we wouldn’t be surprised if they’re seriously considering it.
At the very least, we might expect those updated headlights and new chequered-flag daytime lights to feature in an upcoming update to the range.