Renault sold only five of the previous Clio V6s in South Africa but it was priced way above R400 000. However, the new model is priced at R360 000.
The latest Clio V6 has undergone some significant changes over its predecessor too. There is more a power, a new six-speed gearbox, harder-edged styling and offers better driveability and handling.
We also have no doubt that it is heading for cult car status.
So what is this hardcore Clio all about? Basically Renault got rid of the rear seats and replaced it with a 187kW 3-litre V6 engine. The result is a muscle hatch like nothing else on the road, which will take you from 0-100km/h in 5.8 seconds.
And if you want one, you better be as quick as this racy Clio because Renault South Africa is only importing 20.
The Clio V6 also looks the part of a racer and sports a muscular appearance. Although the car is unmistakably a Clio the body has been modified featuring oversized wheel arches, titanium air intakes, a pair of chromed exhaust pipes, xenon headlights and 18-inch alloys.
Instead of a front-mounted engine with front wheel drive, a 3.0 litre V6 powerplant is mounted amidships - where the rear seats would be in any other Clio ? with drive channelled to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.
The Clio V6's engine is a development of the L7X unit fitted to the Laguna. Peak power is 187 kW at 7 150 r/min, while torque is 300 Nm at 4 650 r/min.
The figures reveal clearly that this is an engine that thrives on revs, but it's no gutless screamer that comes alive only in the higher reaches of the rev range ? the torque curve is extremely flat, and the engine displays great flexibility from 2 500 r/min all the way to the 7 200 redline.
Renault has also revised the V6's chassis, with most of the changes to the rear suspension.
An entirely new subframe has been developed, while the upper damper mounting points and the mounting points for the transverse- and drop links have been repositioned and stiffened.
These changes ensure that vertical wheel alignment is far more resistant to lateral forces or torque reaction during braking and acceleration.
Other changes to the rear suspension geometry include the lengthening of the trailing arms by 10 mm, while the rear wheels are now 15 mm further back. Spring- and damper rates have been re-optimised accordingly, and the overall result is an increase in traction and grip levels.
At the front, the anti-roll bar diameter has been increased to 28 mm, and the bar is now attached via droplinks to improve its efficiency and compensate for the higher natural anti-roll properties of the new rear suspension.
The front suspension caster angle has been increased to 6° to improve self-centring of the steering, and the front track is now 33 mm greater in the interests of improved stability. Finally, the spring and damper rates have been adjusted to match those of the rear.
The end result is an improvement in overall stability, with body control, steering sensitivity and precision and driver feedback all showing enhancements.
Four-piston AP Racing calipers are fitted at the front, with twin-piston units at the rear. It is aided and abetted by 330 mm discs up front and 300 mm discs at the rear. Twin servo units are fitted, with a quad-sensor Bosch 5.3 ABS system.
With the V6 Renault should perhaps alter its Va Va Voom slogan for Clio to Va Va Boom. Its engine is dynamite. It offers great power all through the rev range and the throttle response is good too.
Furthermore the six-speed gearbox is slick and sporty while its breaking power is superb and immediate.
The Clio V6 makes mince meat of corners and offers a lot of confidence when zipping through tight bends and twists. Of course road grip is good too and the car is enormously quick at the right time.
This is a car that feels mature, competent and thrilling. Its super quick performance results in a driving experience that will even give Superman a real thrill.
One could argue that there is not much reason to buy the Clio V6 except for its outrageous performance capabilities. Some people would also say it is silly to drop a V6 in a Clio. Well, jealousy makes some people nasty.
The Clio V6 isn't a car one should judge on pure logic. This hot hatch is a unique car and is something for an enthusiast.
You need to drive it and experience it and it will leave you with utter amazement. Its driveability and fast touring capabilities impresses.