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Racy Renaultsport 200 Cup Clio turns up the heat under the hot-hatch wars

26 Mar 2010

RENAULT has presented a compelling reason not to buy a VW Golf GTI with its new Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup series, thanks to a honed chassis, improved low-end performance, quicker steering and more features for the money. Indeed, the price has fallen as well, raising the French hot hatch’s value proposition significantly. We have only driven it on the racetrack, but all the signs are there that Renault may just have the most exciting sub-$40,000 new-car buy on the market.
Model release date: 1 March 2010 to 1 August 2013

Previous model

Clio III Phase Renaultsport 197

Released: August 2008
Ended: February 2010
Family Tree: Clio

SUPERFICIALLY, the third-generation Clio Renaultsport’s 197 edition may have seemed disappointingly languid and soft to some due to its larger size and weight. But the RS’s 145kW/215Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder variable-valve timing twin-cam engine is a revver, imbuing a Honda VTEC-style rush of performance in the upper ranges of the powerplant’s performance envelope. Aided by a six-speed manual gearbox and taut suspension, the Clio RS 197 turned out to be one of those sleeper models that require time to fully appreciate its eager chassis. Safety and equipment levels were generous too. A small number of honed Cup models with even more honed suspension were imported during 2009. These were known as the F1 Team R27.

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