2006 Renault Clio Sport: First Look
By Feann Torr - 8/Mar/2006
2006 Renault Clio Sport
Powered by a new 2.0-litre engine, the Clio
Sport generates 147kW of power and goes
from 0-100km/h in less than 7.0 seconds
17-inch wheels and a new suspension system
will give the new-look Clio even better handling
The air vents behind the front wheels are
not just cosmetic - they vent hot air from
the engine bay, keeping the engine cool
The rear diffuser negates the need for a roof spoiler,
reducing rear end lift by creating a suction effect
Geneva Motor was a hot bed of fiery hatch back models (not to mention
the odd super car) with a number of stove hot hatch backs being
unveiled, including the powerful Mazda3 MPS and the Peugeot 206 RCup.
Renault added to the
recent surge in activity within the compact performance market
segment, announcing its new Clio Sport to the world,
displaying a dynamic new look and a beefed up
2.0-litre engine, which it claims has the highest specific power output
of its category.
the Clio Renaultsport in Europe, the new vehicle features
a modified version of the revvy 16-valve 2.0-litre 4-cylinder
engine, taking power from 182 to 197hp, which translates to about 147kW.
Having driven a number of Renault's Clio Sport models in the past (reviews here and here)
and having been very impressed with their tenacious attitudes, I was
naturally very excited about the prospect of a new 147kW model, and it
looks great to boot.
While Honda's 2.0-litre engines powering its
go-fast Integra cars have always been quite powerful, the difference
here is that Renault's new engine generates significantly more torque than the Japanese cars -
to the tune of 215Nm @ 5500rpm.
Delivering 147kW (197hp) @
7250rpm and maximum torque of 215Nm @ 5550rpm, the new Clio Sport will
reach 100km/h from standstill in 6.9 seconds, which is quite something
for a nat-atmo hot hatch.
Renault insists that this new engine
has two sides. The one below 5000rpm makes everyday driving a cinch,
but when the revs rise beyond that figure it really starts to perform,
unleashing what the French car maker calls a 'performance bark'.
almost 100 ponies per litre, the new engine will be the benchmark
2.0-litre, 16-valve powerplant until Peugeot returns fire with the next-gereation 207 GTI.
considerable punch for a naturally aspirated powerplant, Renault
upgraded the TL4, 6-speed manual transmission, which can now cope with
240Nm, to ensure the power gets to the front wheels, and will be
handy just in case any owners decide to soop-up their motors. As
mentioned, the 0-100km/h requires 6.9 seconds, while the Clio Sport
takes 27.5 seconds to complete a (standing start) kilometre,
while top speed is 215km/h (134mph).
feature we're all quite excited about is the car's improved stability.
Having already proven itself as a very confident car in any given
corner, the next generation model features a 10mm longer wheelbase,
which will contribute to overall stability. Of more import however, are
the increases in track at the front and rear, where new single-piece
stub axles have been lengthened in order to widen the rear track.
to the previous model Clio (Clio III) the width between the front
wheels has increased by 48mm and by 50mm at the rear, adding to
the car's ability to track through corners while promoting mid-corner
grip, which should make the new Clio Sport even more fun to drive at
Other modifications to the snappy-looking new Clio
Sport include a double-axis strut system, which replaces the
oft-used MacPherson strut suspension architecture that props up
the front wheels. Renault says it "guarantees precision and optimal
traction in all situations". Could this be yet another empty marketing
claim or something more? We'll have to wait until we drive it for the
This new double-axis suspension array
is made from aluminium components to keep weight to a minimum, while at
the rear a new programmed deflection torsion beam suspension
setup has been refined to offer more strength and durability.
employment of a new 30mm anti-roll bar, Renault
reckons the overall stiffness of the Sport's aft suspension
has been improved by 25%, which should keep the tail end following the
front with even more obedience than before. Grip levels are
heading north too, as the Clio Sport gets 17-inch wheels as standard
for the first time, shod with what the French automaker calls
"generously dimensioned" tyres - 215/45 R17s.
They've been upgraded too. And with Italian Brembos, no less! This will
be awesome, giving the little Frenchman a massive increase in
deceleratory prowess, and when combined with the new suspension,
the more powerful engine, the wider track and sticky rubber, the new
Clio Sport may well raise the compact hatch performance bar to levels
that were impossible just a few years ago. Getting back to the brakes,
and the anchors are derived from the Mégane Sport,
featuring 312mm diameter cross-drilled front discs with bad-assed
Brembo 4-pot callipers and 300mm diameter discs at the rear.
course, performance is one thing, but you've got to like the look of
what you drive to get the maximum enjoyment, and with the new Clio
Sport, Renault has done a fairly good job. Up front there's a new-look
bi-sected grille design that flows into the headlight clusters, lending
the front end a sportier cowl, while the new engine demands increased
oxygen levels, which called for much a wider air dam in the front
apron, flanked by tastefully blistered fog lights.
run between the front and rear wheels, and if you look closely you'll
notice that there's even small extractor vents behind the front wheels,
which, according to Renault, perform a number of functions. Most
obviously, they help vent hot air from the engine bay, keeping the
engine cool and running at optimal temperatures. These extractor vents
on the front quarter panels also create a "direct air flow along the
sides of the car
to further enhance performance" according to Renault.
gets the feeling that Renault is most pleased with the design of rear
of the car, which features a "striking innovation" in the form of a air
diffuser or air splitter, that was apparently derived from Formula 1.
Renault explains it better than I ever could: "The diffuser's purpose
is to prevent rear-end lift and maintain stability at high speed by
channelling air flow in such a way to increase the suction effect. The
radius of the diffuser's curve is engineered to create a zone of low
pressure beneath the car. The downforce generated by the diffuser means
there is no need for a rear spoiler to counter the phenomenon of lift.
For optimal stability, the system reduces lift by a factor of three and
produces the equivalent of 40kg of rear downforce at very high speeds."
A diffuser that's not just a cosmetic accessory - I like that.
twin exhaust pipes are almost hidden within the new rear diffuser. The
flush fitted outlets are housed within the outer channels and are
positioned thusly so they don't hamper aerodynamic efficiency.
Unfortunately for those people who drive around construction sites and
on roads with lots of smashed glass, the redesigned rear end meant that
flatter floor was needed to incorporate the new exhaust system, meaning
the spare tyre is gone, replaced by a couple of tyre repair
designers have given the interior a new look to match its maturing
exterior style, and will feature optional Recaro sports seats for the
first time, which in addition to the Brembo brakes give the car some
imported-goods credibility. Other sporty bits include aluminium pedals,
a perforated leather steering wheel and the rev counter incorporates a
gear change light when the revs get close to 7500rpm.
power, better handling and some very slippery bodywork, the new Clio
Sport makes a very positive first impression, and will be built at
Renault's Dieppe factory in France, where the
turbocharged Mégane Sport is built. European and UK
deliveries are expected in the northern summer, around the start of June (winter Down Under) and
though Renault Australia don't have a concrete release date just yet,
it expects the pocket rocket to arrive locally in early 2007.