As production of the highly successful Clio Renaultsport 2 litre and V6 three-litre comes to an end, sports car enthusiast can rest assured that Renaultsport, the competition and sports car branch of Renault, have some exciting replacements waiting in the wings. With an all-new Clio III on sale in October, Renaultsport have built a more extreme “concept” version of next year’s Clio Renaultsport 2.0 as a teaser.
Assertive lines, a powerful character and an exclusive interior make this a show car that blends refinement with high performance. A demonstration of Renaultsport Technologies expertise, it is set to become a worthy successor to the Clio Renaultsport 2.0 182 and it brings a first to this market segment: an underfloor air diffuser. Like the extractor vents in the front wings, it is derived directly from Formula 1 racing cars. The independent mountings for the front suspension guarantee that the handling will be precise and sporting. Clio Renaultsport Concept heralds the production model that is due to go on sale in 2006.
Retain the original spirit of the Clio III while enhancing its intrinsic qualities and dynamic capabilities: this was the challenge Renault Sport Technologies’ engineers were asked to rise to with Clio Renaultsport Concept, an exceptional car combining performance, excitement and driving pleasure.
The exclusive red of the Clio Renaultsport Concept is wholly in keeping with its character. Although easily recognisable, the original lines are emphasised by more pronounced curves. The specific styling of the side bodywork side design accentuates the power and energy of the car’s silhouette. Enlarged front and rear wings, the lowered stance and the profiled side skirts combine with the extractor vents and diffuser to enhance its aerodynamics and high-performance pedigree.
Seven-spoke, 18-inch wheels with body-coloured highlights reveal large brake discs and calipers. A large, chrome-zinc-coloured air intake grille in the front bumper hints at the potential of the 2.0 16V’s naturally-aspirated engine developed by Renault Sport Technologies. The radiator grille and the fog light surrounds are also chromed, along with the door mirrors, which add a high-tech touch. At the rear, the diffuser follows the chrome-zinc theme and the twin exhausts stress its competition heritage.
The Clio Renaultsport Concept benefits from exceptional aerodynamics. The key innovation, both technologically and visually, is the incorporation of a diffuser within the rear bumper. Currently available only on the most expensive sports cars, it channels and accelerates air to create a low-pressure area and hence downforce. The result negates the need for any type of rear roof spoiler. To maximise the diffuser’s effectiveness, the dual exhausts are fitted within the side channels to maximise its efficiency.
The extractor vents in the front wings also have an aerodynamic function, reducing turbulence, while also improving hot-air extraction from the engine bay. The grilles are positioned to direct air along the sides of the car, thereby optimising performance.
Renaultsport’s new generation front suspension design features independent mountings and aluminium components. Clio Renaultsport Concept thus enjoys the highest standards of traction and road holding, with a superb ride and precise handling. The 1520mm track and 2585mm wheelbase ensure that the Clio Renaultsport Concept’s cornering is efficient, safe and sporting. This layout, along with the choice of high-performance tyres (215/40 R18) have naturally involved extended bodywork.
The brakes offer exceptional stopping power and resistance to heat. At the front, red-painted calipers have four aluminium pistons and cross-drilled 330mm Brembo discs (280mm at the rear).
The Clio Renaultsport Concept has been bred for performance, its dynamic qualities fully exploiting the 2.0 16V naturally-aspirated engine. The engine is both powerful and flexible, delivering sports response and exemplary refinement via a six-speed gearbox.
Clio Renaultsport Concept’s interior confirms that this is no ordinary car. The chosen materials, chiefly chrome and leather, emphasise its finely honed design. A generous, panoramic sunroof accentuates Clio III’s innate qualities and enhance the sense of space and comfort. The four individual bucket seats are separated by an integral, chrome-zinc centre console. A body-coloured strip underlines the purity of the design. Upholstered in red and grey leather with built-in headrests, the seats are comfortable yet supportive, while the leather-covered dashboard’s fluid forms echo the Clio III style.
White-faced instruments deliver essential information with optimum clarity and include a gear ratio indicator within the rev-counter. Covered in red and black leather with a flattened lower section, the steering wheel falls perfectly to hand. A new ergonomically efficient handbrake design is integrated into the centre console. Competition-style aluminium pedals and footrest complete the sports character of Clio Renaultsport Concept’s interior.