For several years, the Renaultsport version of the brand’s best-selling hatchback has been unanimously acclaimed by enthusiasts as one of the best performance hatches in its class, and definitely one of the most fun to drive. Building on this success, Renault has chosen the 2009 Geneva Motor Show to reveal the New Clio Renaultsport 200.

In the UK, this pedigree Renaultsport model comes in a choice of two versions in order to meet the demands of two distinct types of customer:

  • Clio Renaultsport 200 is equipped with the sport chassis and targets customers looking for a comfortable, well-equipped sporting hatchback;
  • Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup is for enthusiasts looking for a fusion of performance and a sporty ride. This version is 36kg lighter than the 200 version and boasts the best weight-to-power ratio of its class (166hp/tonne).

New Clio Renaultsport 200 boasts the same ingredients that have forged the success of its predecessors, such as:

  • Formula 1-derived aerodynamics, including front-wing air-extractors, a functioning rear diffuser and a front splitter, all of which are unique in its class,
  • independent steering axis front suspension for precise handling and traction in all conditions, unique in the segment,
  • durable braking performance, thanks notably to the fitment of Brembo front callipers,
  • a new specification of the 2.0 16V engine: enhanced power and responsiveness combined with reduction in CO2.

New Clio Renaultsport 200 is manufactured at the Alpine factory in Dieppe, France and will be launched in the UK in May.

Since 2000, the successive variants of Clio Renaultsport have made it the best-selling performance hatchback in its class, with worldwide sales totalling more than 70,000 cars. The strengths of the chassis, brakes and steering of the Clio Renaultsport 197 combined with the precision of its gearbox have resulted in the model being widely praised as the class leader, by the media and demanding owners alike. To provide a match that is more closely tailored still to the demands and needs of its customers, Renaultsport unveils today the 200 and 200 Cup versions.

Clio Renaultsport 200 is aimed at drivers looking for a comfortable, well-equipped, status-enhancing car which places the accent on driving pleasure. New Clio Renaultsport 200 features the sport chassis which, like the car’s acoustic performance, has been upgraded with a view to delivering great ride/handling balance. A range of ‘Renault i.d.’ personalisation options make this new sporting model from the Renaultsport stable truly unique, including a new, wider range of body colours, interior trims, upholsteries (including leather) and alloy wheels. A long list of equipment from the Clio 2009 range is available, too, including the new Carminat TomTom® navigation system, a hands-free card, cruise control and speed limiter.

Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup stands out through its harder character and performance and will appeal to the enthusiasts who are passionate about their driving. Equipped with the stiffer Cup chassis, it is 36kg lighter than the standard 200 version. This version has a lower equipment level than the standard Clio Renaultsport 200.

Exterior styling: a powerful stance
Clio’s original lines have been revised with the accent on more athletic, telltale curves. The more aggressive front end incorporates an F1-style aerodynamic splitter and a generously-sized, low-positioned air intake, to cool the naturally-aspirated 2.0 16V engine. The sills, extractors and wider front and rear wings all serve to highlight the sporty calling of Clio Renaultsport 200 which features Renaultsport’s new styling identity cues with the Renault i.d. colour scheme based on a choice of Gloss Black or Anthracite for the centre section of the front bumper, front splitter, exterior mirror housings and rear diffuser.

At the rear, the twin exhaust tailpipes are now more visible and incorporated into the new rear diffuser. Clio Renaultsport 200 sits squarely on the road thanks to its wide tyres (215/45) mounted on 17-inch alloy wheels, through which it is possible to see the Brembo brake callipers and ventilated front discs that deliver powerful, fade-free stopping power.

Renaultsport badging is visible on the tailgate, on the side protective mouldings’ satin-finish chrome inserts, as well as on the intake manifold. Clio Renaultsport 200 also sees the introduction of Mercury, the return of the pearlescent Liquid Yellow and the brand new, exclusive Renault i.d. Alien Green paint finish.

Aerodynamics derived from Formula 1 technology
Clio Renaultsport 200’s aerodynamic features include a front splitter, front-wing air-extractors and a rear diffuser, a unique feature in this segment. Compared with the new version’s predecessor, the CdA has been cut by 0.02 to 0.75.

The extractors visible on the front wings contribute to the car’s aerodynamic performance by countering the turbulence produced by the wider wings and play a part in improving the model’s aerodynamic performance. They also facilitate the extraction of hot air from underneath the bonnet, while the vents are angled to channel airflow along the sides of the car for enhanced performance.

The most significant single technological innovation is the functioning rear air diffuser, an item normally reserved for supercars. The diffuser’s role is to reduce the effect of lift and aid stability at high speed by producing a low pressure zone beneath the car.

Sporty interior design
Clio Renaultsport 200’s pedigree is confirmed by details such as the aluminium pedal covers and footrest, as well as by the perforated leather steering wheel with visible stitching and yellow centre-point marker. The yellow rev-counter includes an audible and visible Formula 1-style gearshift indicator to help optimise gear changes.

Thanks to a choice of three interior trims with Renault i.d., customers can select the colour of the seatbelts, dashboard inserts and/or upholstery (Silver Grey, Yellow, Dark Anthracite). The Renaultsport seats are exceptionally comfortable and ensure a high level of body-hugging lateral support. Optional seats designed and developed in association with Recaro are also available. They are equipped with lateral airbags, plus a rigid, glass-fibre/polyamide-injected shell which provides the sort of all-enveloping experience normally associated with motor sport.

As with all the models developed by Renault Sport Technologies, Renaultsport badging is visible inside on the rev-counter background, door sills and front seats.

High performance suspension
Compared to Clio 2009, Clio Renaultsport 200 offers enhanced handling with the front and rear tracks widened by 48mm and 50mm respectively. The wheelbase is extended by 10mm to 2,585mm for greater stability, while the front suspension’s independent steering axis layout is unique in the Clio’s segment. This technology uses aluminium components to minimise weight and provides resistance to torque steer. Based on that of Clio 2009, the rear suspension features a stiffened programmed deflection torsion beam which has been design to work with and compliment the front end’s independent steering axis system to ensure precise, immediate turn-in.

The sport chassis: efficiency and comfort
The development of the sport chassis on the Clio Renaultsport 200 is designed to offer the ideal balance between performance and comfort. The stub axles have been lengthened to increase the rear track, and Clio Renaultsport 200 marks an improvement in comfort over its predecessor thanks to the switch to double-effect damper technology. The energy which needs to be dissipated is partly absorbed by an additional level of valving.

The performance of these new dampers is particularly appreciable on longer journeys and motorway drives. Meanwhile, body roll is kept in check thanks to the larger diameter of the front anti-roll bar which has been raised from 20mm to 21 mm. Compared with the rest of the Clio range, the stiffness of the rear suspension has been uprated by 25% thanks to the fitment of a 30mm-diameter anti-roll bar. Specifically-developed Continental Sport Contact 3 tyres (215/45 R17) ensure swift, precise steering response, The alloy wheels are each 1kg lighter and the gain in terms of inertia further contributes to the enhanced steering response and crisp acceleration.

The ‘Cup’ chassis: for even greater driving precision
The Cup chassis has been engineered to deliver uncompromising driving pleasure. The ride height is 7mm lower than that of the sport chassis and the resulting lower centre of gravity ensures improved cornering performance. Its ability to corner flat is further enhanced by stiffer damper calibration compared with the previous Cup chassis on Clio Renaultsport 197. Last but not least, the Cup chassis comes with revised steering (7.5 per cent quicker compared with the sport chassis) which enhances driver feedback.

This suspension setting is standard on the Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup and optional on the Clio Renaultsport 200.

A sporty, naturally-aspirated engine with a specific power output of 100hp/litre
Clio Renaultsport 200 is powered by the same normally-aspirated 2.0 16V engine (F4R RS). With a specific power output of 100hp/litre, this powerplant delivers extremely high performance. Peak power has been increased by 3hp to 200hp at 7,100rpm and now produces its maximum torque of 215Nm at 5,400rpm (compared with 5,500rpm for Clio Renaultsport 197). The first, second and third gear ratios have all been shortened for punchier acceleration. The new Clio Renaultsport 200 accelerates from standstill to 62 mph in just 6.9 seconds. The top speed increases by 2mph to 141mph.

Another benefit of the work that has gone into this powertrain is the fact that its fuel consumption and CO2 emissions have been slightly reduced to 34.5mpg in the combined cycle and 195g/km.

Genes shared with the other members of the Clio 2009
A long list of safety and travelling comfort equipment has been carried over from Clio 2009 to the Clio Renaultsport 200 range, including:

  • Carminat TomTom®, the first integrated sat nav system for less than £500,
  • hands-free card,
  • Two stereo upgrades: Sound Pack and Bluetooth® Sound Pack
  • electric sunroof,
  • cruise control with speed limiter,
  • automatic climate control,
  • automatic lights and wipers.

In day-to-day use, occupants will particularly appreciate the spacious cabin and generous boot space, two hallmarks of Clio 2009.

Clio Renaultsport 200 is built on the same platform and is equipped with the third-generation Renault System for Restraint and Protection (SRP3). Like Clio III, which obtained a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating in 2005, it is engineered to provide uncompromising protection for all occupants.