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Driven: Renault launches warmed-up $25,290 Clio GT

Warmed-up: The Clio GT gets sporty looks and a unique blue paint finish, though its 88kW/190Nm turbo engine is familiar from the regular range.

RS-style looks without the manic performance, Renault’s Clio GT launches at $25,290

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Renault logo30 Apr 2014

RENAULT has launched a new variant within its well-received Clio light-car range called the GT, designed to fit between the Dynamique and hotted-up RS in both specification and price.

Priced from $25,290 plus on-road costs, the GT matches the familiar 88kW/190Nm 1.2-litre turbo-engine and six-speed dual-clutch transmission from the Dynamique and Expression variants with a sportier chassis, firmer suspension, more equipment and sexed-up styling accoutrements.

The French brand will also offer a better-equipped GT Premium version from $28,790, which adds a range of additional equipment above the regular GT including a rear spoiler, Renault’s R-Link multimedia system, heated leather seats, a reversing camera and a fixed-glass sunroof.

This pricing puts it smack-bang between the 88kW/190Nm $23,290 Dynamique and 147kW/240Nm $29,290 RS in terms of price. Renault expects about 300 Australian sales this year — a figure it admits is on the low side — which is only half of what it is on track to do with the RS.

One expected side-benefit of introducing the GT is its potential to ease the 2-3 month waiting list on the hotter RS, according to Renault Australia.

Dealers could urge some buyers unwilling to wait on the RS towards the sporty-looking, though less sharp, GT if they don’t need the extra poke.

Renault cites major rivals as the Peugeot 208 Allure Sport, Citroen DS3, Ford Fiesta Sport, Holden Barina RS and Suzuki Swift Sport.

Built in Turkey like the regular Clio range, rather than France as with the RS, the GT range sports much of the sporting design of its hotter big sibling, with unique touches such as LED lights, 17-inch anthracite alloy wheels, a rear lip spoiler, and more aggressive diffuser and bumper designs.

The signature Malta Blue paint — one of six hues offered — is unique to the GT.

Metallic paint costs an extra $550, while a grey checked roof decal costs a further $490.

Inside are GT-badged sports bucket seats, Renault Sport kickplates and column-mounted shifter paddles for the dual-clutch auto. Like the RS, no manual is offered.

Under the bonnet is the same 88kW and 190Nm at 2000rpm 1.2-litre turbo-four as the Dynamique and Expression 120 variants, which rather pales against the 147kW/240Nm 1.6 turbo in the RS. The zero to 100km/h time is 9.4 seconds, about 3.0s slower than the RS.

Renault claims combined-cycle fuel consumption of 5.2 litres per 100km and emissions of 120 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

But while the engine is familiar, the chassis is unique to the GT. The regular Clio is already 100kg lighter than its predecessor, making it significantly more agile, but the GT gets a chassis tune different to both the cushier Dynamique and the more hard-edged RS.

According to Renault, the springs are 5 per cent stiffer on the GT than the Dynamique, while the damping forces are 50 per cent higher up front and 40 per cent at the rear.

The GT also includes an RS Drive button, Renault’s word for a sports mode that sharpens the transmission shifts, throttle response and relaxes the stability control.

Carried-over from the regular Clio are the front MacPherson, rear torsion beam suspension, an electric steering system with 2.71 turns lock-to-lock, and 258mm front disc brakes and 230mm rear drums.

Standard equipment on the ‘base’ GT includes all the styling tweaks, automatic headlights and wipers, LED daytime running lights, rear parking sensors, cruise control with a speed limiter, keyless entry and start with a ‘key card’, climate control and satellite-navigation on an eight-inch touchscreen.

The GT Premium adds the more advanced R-Link infotainment system with more detailed maps, a novel R-Sound system that pipes a range of different exhaust notes into the cabin — from a Clio rally car to a futuristic UFO-style pod — a fixed-glass sunroof, leather heated buckets, a bigger spoiler and a rear-view camera with a lens hidden in the signature Renault logo.

As with other Clios, the GT has a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and is eligible for Renault’s Capped Price Servicing program of $299 per calendar year for the first three years.

Commenting on the launch of the new Clio GT, Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar said: “Through Clio we have been able to introduce our vibrant brand to a wide range of new customers.

“We are confident that the new Clio GT will continue this trend and be popular amongst younger buyers who want the sporty look of the GT however their lifestyle doesn’t require the additional performance of the Clio RS.

“Renault Australia continues on a strong growth trajectory and in the first three months of 2014, we are 40% up over 2013.

“This growth is strongly supported by the sales success of new Clio and the high demand for the range-topping Clio RS. In the first 6 months of sales, the Clio range has successful attracted a new group of buyers to the Renault brand and exceeded our sales expectations.”2014 Renault Clio GT pricing*
120 EDC$25,290
Premium 120 EDC$28,790
*Excludes on-road costs.

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