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Red-hot Renault Clio RS rumoured

French fancy: Speculation prompted by leaked images of a hotted-up Renault Clio RS range from suggestions that this previews a 201kW manual production road rocket to more sober assumptions that it is just a one-off concept.

Leaked images and Twitter teaser point to potential 201kW Renault Clio RS special

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Renault logo23 May 2016

RUMOURS are rife that Renaultsport is working on a bonkers 201kW version of the Clio RS hot hatch after images of a more serious-looking car were leaked by Greek website Motori over the weekend.

Fanning the flames of speculation, Renaultsport responded with a teaser image and a promise to unveil a “surprise” at next weekend’s Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix.

The leaked images show a Clio with extended wheelarches housing a wider track, blacked-out Renault grille badge, black 19-inch wheels and black-painted mirror housings, roof, rear splitter and a large roof-mounted spoiler.

In the background of one image is a wall covered in design sketches with ‘KZ 01’ written in the margins, suggesting this is a codename or proposed designation for the variant.

A key link between the leaked photos and official teaser is the shape of the front foglights, which are in the shape of Renaultsport’s abstract chequered flag motif.

Running the teaser through Photoshop to sniff out more clues reveals identical mirror housings to those used on a Clio RS and headlight graphics also consistent with that model.

According to Motori, the KZ 01 will feature a 2.0-litre turbo engine producing 275 horsepower – equivalent to the Megane RS 275 Trophy and suggesting this might be the first manual Clio RS variant – with another interesting detail lying in the steering wheel which has inlaid F1-inspired LED shift lights.

Other details revealed in the leak are the presence of an Acrapovic performance exhaust system and Recaro bucket seats.

Motori says the car will celebrate Renault’s return to F1 as a manufacturer.

Renaultsport’s Twitter response simply read: “As promised, a surprise is awaiting for you at #MonacoGP . Spotlight on… ! #LetsRaceTogethe.”

Amid all the speculation are more sober suggestions that the car will just be a concept. Renault has a history at the Monaco GP in this regard, having unveiled the Twingo-previewing Twin’Run concept at the famous street race in 2013.

Compared with the prosaic drivetrain fitted to the production Twingo it presaged, the tiny Twin’Run packed a wild 240kW V6 mounted midship and tubular spaceframe chassis.

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