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First look: Renault's wild new Clio RS

Hi-po: Hottest version of the Clio III features a longer wheelbase, plus beefier brakes and suspension.

Renault uncovers its radical new Clio RenaultSport hot-hatch at the Geneva show

8 Mar 2006

RENAULT used last week's Geneva motor show opening to take the covers off its new Clio RenaultSport hatchback, which, in a first for a small car of this ilk, has a Formula One-style rear air diffuser. It also has extractor vents in the front wings.

Due on sale in Australia early in 2007, the hot little Clio is powered by a 2.0-litre 16-valve four-cylinder engine with continuously variable valve timing.

It outputs 147kW at 7250rpm and 215Nm at 5550rpm and, in combination with the standard close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox, races from 0-100km/h in a claimed 6.9 seconds.

35 center imageThe suspension has been tuned for handling with a double-axis strut system up front and a stronger, 25 per cent stiffer torsion beam rear.

It has a longer wheelbase than the standard car, wider front and rear tracks, 17-inch alloys and a high-performance Brembo brake package comprising 312mm diameter cross-drilled front discs and 300mm rear discs.

The Clio III’s distinctive look has been enhanced by bumper-mounted air intakes, side skirts, wheel-arch blisters that are 42mm wider than the standard car and body-coloured bumpers and mouldings.

Inside there are hip-hugging sports leather seats, aluminium pedals and a leather-clad steering wheel.

The rev counter incorporates a gearchange indicator light, while the numerals get bigger as the needle gets closer to the 7500rpm redline. The spare tyre has been replaced by two aerosols so the rear floor can accommodate the twin-rear exhausts.

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