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2010 launch date for Renault’s hot hatch

Waiting: The Renault Clio RS200 is pencilled in for early 2010 in Australia.

Renault Clio RS200 waits in the wings until current limited edition cleared

4 May 2009

AUSTRALIAN hot hatch fans may have to wait until early next year for Renault’s latest urban guerrilla, the Clio RenaultSport 200.

Revealed at last month’s Geneva motor show and set for showroom launch in the UK on May 15, the Clio RS200 will cool its heels in Europe for several months at least before boarding the ship for Down Under.

The reason: Renault Australia has only just launched the previous warmed-over Clio from the RenaultSport Technologies fun factory, the RS197 F1 Team R27, after its debut at the Melbourne motor show.

Renault Australia marketing communications manager Craig Smith said the importer had a stock of 40 of the limited-edition RS197 F1s to sell before considering an arrival date for the RS200.

“At this stage, it is looking like early next year, but it could be a little earlier,” he said. “It depends on how the current model goes.”

The manual-only RS200 and its lightweight RS200 Cup sibling are based on the facelifted mainstream 2009 Clio that also made its debut at Geneva (but will not be coming to Australia).

The RS200 retains the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre engine used in the RS197, but it has been tweaked to gain three more horsepower, hence the name change from RS197 to RS200 (147kW and 149kW respectively).

Peak power is achieved at 7100rpm, 150rpm lower than previously, while maximum torque (215Nm) also arrives earlier, at 5400rpm. Low-end torque (below 3000rpm) is said to have been improved 20 per cent, thanks to a revised cylinder head and engine-management tweaks.

RenaultSport claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 227km/h.

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

The RS200 gets a more aggressive design, with an aerodynamic “blade” built into the front bumper, front air extractors and a rear diffuser.

These “F1-inspired” changes are claimed to enhance the RS200’s aerodynamic drag while also helping to extract hot air from under the bonnet and feed more cool air to the engine intake.

The rear diffuser – a common feature of high-end sportscars – is said to be unique in the hot hatch segment.

Compared with the RS197, the RS200 sits on a wider track – 48mm broader at the front and 50mm at the rear – for gains in handling stability. The fenders have been boosted accordingly.

The chassis has been refined with a revised “steering axis” front suspension with double-action dampers that give a more compliant ride but stiffen up on bumps.

The rear suspension is based on the new 2009 Clio set-up with a deflection torsion beam that has been uprated 25 per cent.

The hard-edge Cup version gets a high-ratio steering rack while also shedding 35kg of equipment to shave the kerb weight to 1204kg. That also shaves the price: the UK RS200 Cup is £1000 ($A2028) cheaper than the better-equipped RS200, which goes on sale for £16,750 ($A33,976).

Renault Australia has yet to set a price for the RS200 in Australia. The current Cup-based RS197 F1 retails for $39,990, which should provide a guide to RS200 pricing.

Read more:

Geneva show: Clio makeover unwrapped


The Road to Recovery podcast series


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