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Renault shows off next Clio Sport

Undercover: This Clio Sport RS prototype previews the next-generation light-car range ahead of its global reveal at the Paris motor show in September.

Next Renault Clio to emerge this week as hot Sport variant gets first public workout

2 Jul 2012

RENAULT has previewed the next-generation Clio Sport RS hot hatch three months ahead of its full public debut at the Paris motor show in September.

The French car-maker’s chief executive officer, Carlos Tavares, raced a camouflaged prototype up the hillclimb at last weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The surprise sneak-peak is a precursor to the global reveal of the wider Clio range, which will mark a radical departure from the current-shape model by being offered only in a five-door bodystyle.

Renault is set to publish the first official undisguised pictures of the standard car later this week ahead of its debut ‘in the metal’ at the Paris show.

Renault will launch the new Clio in Australia from mid-2013.

The current-shape Clio range has been around since 2006, with Renault Australia opting to offer only the hot Sport RS version on the local market, but the new Clio will have a much larger presence on the local market.

Renault Australia corporate communications manager Emily Ambrosy confirmed to GoAuto that the company will offer the complete range of the next generation, giving it the ammunition to tackle fellow European light cars such as the Volkswagen Polo and upcoming Peugeot 208.

All variants of the new Clio – from the entry-level through to the flagship Sport – will be offered exclusively in five-door configuration, with the rear doorhandles cunningly hidden in the C-pillars like the Honda Civic hatch.

35 center imageFrom top: 2013 Renault Clio Sport RS Renault Alpine.

The car is expected to further take on the daring trends set out by design boss Laurens van den Acker with the curvaceous Dezir and Zoe concepts at the French show in 2010, including a sharply raked rear window and prominent shoulder line.

The new baby Renault will also take on the distinctive new signature grille design from the Europe-only Twingo and the imminent, fully-electric Zoe hatchback.

The next-generation hot Sport version previewed at Goodwood, meanwhile, will hit Australian showrooms around six months after the rest of the range in early 2014.

Details on the car are scarce, although respected British publication Autocar suggests that power will come from a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine producing around 150kW of power, replacing the current-generation’s high-revving 148kW/215Nm 2.0-litre naturally aspirated unit.

The Goodwood prototype featured a new dual-clutch automatic transmission with column-mounted paddle shifters. It is unclear whether Renault will offer a manual option, or will follow Volkswagen’s lead with the Polo GTI and offer it exclusively with the self-shifter.

The new Clio Sport RS will help Renault retain its potent one-two punch in the local hot hatch market. Its Megane RS big brother has been a hit Down Under since launch in October 2010, with Australia now that car’s third-biggest market globally.

Also starring at Goodwood alongside the Clio Sport prototype was the recently-unveiled Alpine A110-50 concept coupe, designed to celebrate the iconic A110 Berlinette rally car of the 1960s.

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