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Renault unveils hot-hatch version of Clio III

Energy lozenge: The Clio Renaultsport concept's aggressive styling cues hint at an undisclosed performance potency.

Renault targets Golf GTI with new hot-hatch Clio Renaultsport

17 Aug 2005

HARD on the heels of the unveiling of the new Clio, Renault has taken the wraps of a loosely disguised production version of the hot-hatch Clio Renaultsport.

In keeping with its high-performance pedigree, the hot Clio Renaultsport concept gains bespoke bodywork, enlarged front and rear wings, a lowered stance and side skirts that combine with extractor vents and an underfloor air diffuser to enhance its aerodynamics.

The concept will be shown at the Frankfurt motor show next month and Renault has indicated production versions are likely to go on sale early next year, meaning an expected on-sale date here of late 2006.

Although Renault isn’t at this stage divulging detail about the engine underneath, the car is tipped to have a potent 2.0-litre four-cylinder developing more than 130kW and mating with a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox.

Seven-spoke, 18-inch wheels with body-coloured highlights reveal large brake discs and callipers. A large, chrome-zinc-coloured air intake in the front bumper also hints at the car’s potential.

Chrome is also used on the radiator grille, the fog-light surrounds and the door mirrors, while at the rear the diffuser and twin exhausts follow the same theme.

35 center imageRenault claims the diffuser dramatically improves aerodynamics by channelling and accelerating air to create a low-pressure area and hence increased downforce. The clever system negates the need for a rear roof spoiler.

To maximise the diffuser's effectiveness, the dual exhausts are fitted within the side channels.

The extractor vents in the front wings also have an aerodynamic function, reducing turbulence while also improving hot-air extraction from the engine bay. The grilles are positioned to direct air along the sides of the car, thereby optimising performance.

The concept has a wide 1520mm track and 2585mm wheelbase – against the current 182’s 1430mm track and 2485mm wheelbase – along with the choice of high-performance tyres (215/40 R18).

The brakes are claimed to offer exceptional stopping power and resistance to heat. At the front, red-painted callipers have four aluminium pistons and cross-drilled 330mm Brembo discs (280mm at the rear).

Inside, the car is decked out in chrome and leather with a large panoramic sunroof. The sports seats are upholstered in red-and-grey leather with built-in headrests, while the leather-covered dashboard’s fluid forms echo the Clio III style. The reach- and height-adjustable steering wheel (with a flattened lower section) is clad in a combination of red and black cowhide.

An integral, chrome-zinc centre console separates the four individual bucket seats.

White-faced instruments have been used to deliver essential information with optimum clarity and a gear-ratio indicator is included within the rev-counter.

Competition-style aluminium pedals and footrest complete the sports character.

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