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Renault reveals hotter Clio RS 16

Like the wind: Renault's unfortunately named F4RT 2.0-litre engine has been transplanted into the little Clio hatchback, resulting in a 201kW street machine.

Scorching Clio RS 16 concept hits streets of Monaco with Renault Megane RS power

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Renault logo30 May 2016

By DANIEL GARDNER

RENAULT has debuted a 2.0-litre turbocharged Clio RS 16 hyper-hatch concept at the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, confirming suspicions that leaked pictures of a pumped-up version of its compact hatchback were more than just a design study.

The unofficial images that emerged last week appeared to show an even hotter version of the Clio RS with flexed muscles, bigger wheels, lurid paintwork and more mumbo under the bonnet, but the Monaco reveal has now detailed the mysterious car in full.

As speculated, the now public Clio RS 16 concept has replaced the standard 147kW 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with the 201kW/360Nm 2.0-litre F4RT unit from Renault's Megane RS275 Trophy-R hatchback.

In the larger Megane hatchback that powerplant is enough to shoot the RS from zero to 100km/h in 5.8 seconds, but with about 200 fewer kilograms to haul around, the smaller and lighter stablemate is expected to take a significant step up in performance.

While Renault says the one-off show-car will remain a concept for now, the exercise does at least show the bigger engine will fit under the tiny Clio hood, keeping the door open for a production version.

Built to celebrate the French brand's 40th anniversary and a return to Formula One racing, the Clio RS 16 is decorated in the same Sirius pearlescent yellow of the 2016 RS 16 racecar, and features 19-inch wheels, a revised chassis to cope with the extra grunt and a custom Akrapovic twin exhaust system.

Vehicle stability was increased by 60mm widening the track, which required a swelling of the wheel arches around the wheels. The extra body width also allowed an optimisation of the cooling system, says Renault.

The “sporty stance” is complemented at the front end by a signature chequered flag lighting pattern in the foglights, AeroCatch bonnet fasteners and conspicuous RS 16 livery.

At the back end, the Renault Sport stickers continue, along with a more aggressive rear diffuser and Hello Kitty-ear roof-spoiler.

Despite the extensive engineering work required to slot in the bigger donk, associated transmission and cooling system, the company's Renault Sport team pushed the car from inception to reality in just five months.

“Our aim was to produce a concept car with genuinely outstanding performance credentials,” said Renault Sport Cars managing director Patrice Ratti.

“On paper, producing a Clio RS powered by our most potent engine... was an extremely appealing idea, but we had to make sure it was feasible.”

As part of the unveiling festivities, Renault conquered the punishing Monte Carlo street race circuit for a dynamic launch that Renault says connects the brand to both road and track.

The French car-maker has used the iconic motorsport event to reveal previous concepts, with the Twingo-based Twin'Run mid-engined concept chased through the streets by its Renault 5 Turbo and Clio V6 predecessors, during the 2013 Grand Prix.

After Monaco, the Clio RS 16 will make its next public engagement at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the United Kingdom, which runs from June 23 to 26.

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