Renault has released details about its facelifted Clio RS, and with its naturally aspirated 2.0-litre unit churning out 148 kW, this should prove to be a proper little giant slayer.
New Clio RS packs 148kW punch
Bearing the Renault Sport badge, the latest little hot hatch bears several elements recalling the Regie's F1 pedigree. Aerodynamic improvements include a front splitter, front wing extractors and a rear diffuser.
The RS model is available with either a Sport or Cup chassis (although the latter will probably not form part of the line-up when the hotter Clio is released in South Africa) a potent engine and high-performance brakes.
The independent front and reinforced rear suspension arrangement should make for spirited performance in all conditions, although Renault promises an increase in comfort over its predecessor with damper settings being 15% softer.
Sport or Cup?
The Cup chassis is more sporty with 15% stiffer dampers, springs tighter by 27% at the front and 30% at the rear, and a ride height that is 7mm lower than the standard Sport model. Torsional rigidity is also said to be 10% better than before. Most importantly, perhaps, is the Cup's weight advantage - it is 36kg lighter than the Sport.
Compared with the standard Clio III, the RS model has a wider front and rear track while the wheelbase has been extended by 10mm for greater stability all round.
Special tyres with a lower rolling resistance have been developed by Continental for use on the Clio III Renault Sport, while stopping power is the work of large diameter vented discs coupled with four-piston Brembo calipers at the front and single-piston TRW calipers at the rear.
Clio and the wailer
New Clio RS is powered by a 2.0-litre 16-valve powerplant producing 148 kW at a screaming 7 100 r/min and 215 Nm of torque at 5 400 r/min.
According to Renault, low-end torque is better thanks to a new cylinder head, the use of a continuously variable valve timing system and a remapped ECU.
Shorter gearing has been employed on the six-speed manual 'box for first, second and third gears which should translate to more hard-hitting performance.
This hot number accelerates from 0 - 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds. Top speed is quoted at 225 km/h.
Combined fuel consumption is said to be down by 0.7 l/100 km to 8.2 l/100 km.