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Geneva show: Clio makeover unwrapped

French connection: The Renault Clio RS200 is on the order list for Australia.

Renault’s latest hot hatch set for Australia

4 Mar 2009

RENAULT’S facelifted Clio – unveiled in Geneva this week – is destined for Australia, but only in the sporty Renaultsport guise.

Renault Australia has confirmed it will take the new Clio RS200, but not the rest of the models because they are too close to the top-selling Megane.

The new Clio was revealed in a busy presentation that included seven new Renault models, four of them on the Megane platform.

Topping the Clio range is a new Renaultsport Cup model, which is 36kg lighter than the RS200 and boasts “Formula One style” aerodynamics, including front wing air extractors, a rear diffuser and a front splitter.

The Clio RS200’s 2.0-litre engine is normally aspirated, unlike the Megane RS powerplant, and gains three more horsepower in the Clio, hence the name change from RS197 to RS200. That translates to a rise from 147kW to 149kW.

Peak power is achieved at 7100rpm, 150rpm lower than previously, while maximum torque has remained steady at 215Nm, also achieved 150rpm lower, at 5400rpm.

Fuel economy and CO2 emissions are slightly improved, to 8.2L/100km and 195g/km.

Acceleration has been enhanced by the adoption of lower ratios on first, second and third gears, allowing the RS200 to sprint from zero to 100km/h in 6.9 seconds.

35 center imageFrom top: RS200 and RS200 Cup (green) and interior.

The new body retains the deep side windows of its predecessor and has been given a new nose similar to the Megane range, with a thin letter-box slot between the headlights, above a larger air intake on the valance.

The thin upper air intake looks a little contrived, but the RS200 fixes this problem by having black plastic bodywork reaching from the lower air intake to above the upper slot, hiding the smaller aperture.

Renault has modified the Renaultsport chassis to give more compliance without giving away any grip through the use of double-action dampers that effectively stiffen up on sharp bumps but offer a softer ride on the highway.

The front anti-roll bar has been thickened from 20mm to 21mm while the rear bar is 30mm thick, 25 per cent stiffer than the standard Clio bar.

Continental has come up with specifically designed tyres – 215/45s – which are fitted to 17-inch diameter wheels that are each 1kg lighter than the previous wheels. The Clio Renaultsport Cup chassis is lower and stiffer again, and the steering ratio has been raised to make it 7.5 per cent faster.

The Cup is a harder, more focused version of the RS200, and comes with a lower equipment level, which shaves 36kg from the RS200’s kerb weight.

Renault Australia spokesman Craig Smith said Australia would get the new Clio RS200, but did not say when it would arrive here.

“We will certainly take the Clio RS200 at some stage, but it is too early to talk about timing,” he said from the Melbourne International Motor Show.

Mr Smith said the RS200 would again be the only Clio model imported because the rest of the range was too close in size and price to the Megane, which is Renault’s best seller in this country.

Read more:

Melbourne show: Renault Clio goes F1


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