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Geneva show: Renault warms up Clio GT

Cool but not hot: Renault describes the Clio GT as a ‘warm hatch’ as it is not as ‘hot’ as the rapid RS.

Clio GT to provide Renault with ‘warm hatch’ alternative to full-fat RS version

6 Mar 2013


THE Renault Clio GT revealed overnight at the Geneva motor show looks likely to join the Australian line-up around six months after the mainstream Clio range arrives in October.

It represents a more affordable, tamer version of the full-house Clio RS flagship that will arrive early next year.

The GT is powered by a new 89kW 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine that, like the more powerful RS, is paired exclusively with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that can be manually controlled via paddle-shifters.

Borrowing some styling cues and technology from the RS, the Clio GT comes with an RS Drive button that sharpens transmission and throttle response while giving the steering a sportier feel but stops short of offering the three driving modes of the full-fat RS.

Also carrying across from the Clio RS is the second-generation RS Monitor, which Renault claims to be the world’s most comprehensive production road car telemetry system, displaying information like g-forces and acceleration and lap times.

Identifying the GT as second from top in the Clio range is a sporty bodykit comprising a special grille, front and rear bumpers, sill extensions, a lip spoiler, twin chrome exhaust tips, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and an exclusive Malta Blue exterior paint colour option.

Inside is a grey colour scheme with chrome and gloss-black highlights, while a sports steering wheel, bolstered sports seats, aluminium pedals and special instruments all hint at the GT’s performance intent.

Standard equipment includes satellite navigation through the R-Link infotainment system, climate-control air-conditioning, a reversing camera, Bluetooth and USB connectivity..

Under the skin, “specific chassis settings” should deliver on the GT’s performance promise in terms of handling.

Apart from its peak power output, few details about the GT’s new direct-injection turbocharged engine have been announced but it will be efficient, with combined fuel consumption claimed to be 5.1 litres per 100km, with CO2 output of 120 grams per kilometre.

As with the Clio RS, the GT was developed with the help of Renault Sport Technologies and will be available as a five-door hatch.

In Europe Renault will also offer a wagon version of the GT for customers who need extra space but desire a sporty look and driving experience.

Renault Sport Technologies projects and product program director Christophe Besseau described the hatch and wagon versions of the GT as a “double whammy for the Clio range” that are “dynamic and comfortable”.

“Their versatility, performance and fuel efficiency sees Renault Sport set new standards in the world of hot hatches,” he said.

Unlike the RS, which is assembled in Dieppe in northern France, the GT will be built at Renault’s Turkish factory at Bursa.

Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar told GoAuto no supply challenges were predicted for mainstream Clio models, although the hot RS could be constrained by the limited volume capability of the Dieppe facility.

Mr Hocevar said he expected the Clio to become one of the brand’s top sellers Down Under, potentially eclipsing the Koleos compact SUV and Megane small car that each racked up more than 1100 registrations last year.

“We expect that the Clio will be probably the largest share of any given car in the portfolio, not within its first year but the not too distant future,” he said.

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