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First drive: Renault Gordini returns with Clio RS

Blue bombshell: The Gordini Clio features classic blue paintwork with white racing stripes, backed by the acclaimed Renault Sport 200 Cup chassis.

Renault launches the sizzling Clio Gordini RS200 Edition, priced from $39,140

1 Nov 2010

THE emotive Gordini moniker has returned to the Renault brand in Australia with the launch this week of the limited-edition Clio Gordini RS200 Edition.

Priced from $39,140 (plus statutory and dealer delivery charges), the new Clio hot hatch is considered a spiritual successor of the R8 Gordini of the 1960s, which won a legion of fans in Australia with its lively French-flavoured performance and handling – and which was piloted by Bob Watson and Jim McAuliffe to victory in the 1970 Australian Rally Championship.

The sub-brand takes its name from the Italian-born motor racing mechanic and driver Amedee Gordini, who joined forces with Renault in the mid-1950s and developed a range of cars including the historic Renault 5, 8, 12 and 17.

35 center imageAs the remainder of the model name indicates, the new Gordini Clio is based on the Renault Sport (RS) 200 series, which has at its core Renault’s lauded F4R RS 2.0-litre 16-valve twin-cam CVVT four-cylinder engine with 147.5kW (200bhp) of power on offer at 7100rpm and 215Nm of torque peaking at 5400rpm.

As with the $38,990 Clio RS200 Cup Trophee, there are no mechanical differences with Gordini compared to the regular Cup chassis version (from $36,490), but a raft of features that distinguish it from others in the RS stable.

The most obvious of these is the signature Gordini blue exterior colour (in this case, Malta Blue metallic) and white racing stripes on the bonnet, roof and tailgate, with a ‘G’ motif watermarked along the stripes.

There is also white detailing on the wing mirrors and the F1-style lower front ‘blade’, high-gloss black on the front bumper and rear diffuser, satin chrome side extractors, Gordini Series badging and 17-inch ‘BeBop’ multi-spoke alloy wheels with blue inserts.

Black, white and blue highlights with chrome detailing is also apparent inside, including Gordini-embossed black leather seats with blue inserts and white stitching, a Gordini-badged metal gearlever knob and blue gaiter, and a black leather-trimmed steering wheel with the upper part in blue with two white stripes indicating the straight-ahead position.

There is a white rev counter, dark charcoal door trim with grey stitching, high-gloss black centre console, dash stack and air-vent surrounds, bespoke floor mats and, not least of all, a Gordini build plate (based on global production).

Naturally, all the mechanical attractions of the regular RS Cup are there, too, with the 1281kg Gordini offering the same 0-100km/h acceleration in 6.9 seconds when combined with the standard TL4 close-ratio six-speed manual transmission (no automatic is available), on its way to a 225km/h top speed.

Fuel consumption is rated at 8.2L/100km on the combined cycle, while CO2 emissions are 195g/km.

The Gordini also benefits from the RS Cup chassis, which brings stiffer springs, firmer shocks, a thicker front anti-roll bar, faster steering ratio, bigger brakes, sports-tuned (and switchable) stability control and low-profile (215/45-section) tyres.

Other features specifically highlighted by Renault include an RS display monitor, six airbags, automatic headlights/windscreen wipers, foglights and cornering lights, cruise control, climate-control air-conditioning, Bluetooth, multi-media connection box (aux input and USB), and an 80-Watt six-speaker stereo with CD/MP3 player.

This is the first Gordini-branded Clio sold in Australia since a limited edition (restricted to 30 units) was released in 2005.

THe first Australian allocations of this new-generation model are also limited to 30, while in the high-volume right-hand drive UK market the Clio Gordini has been limited to 500 examples.

Renault enthusiasts are likely to ensure that sales are strong for the new Gordini, which lines up against a growing number of light and small hatches such as the acclaimed VW Golf GTI (from $38,990), BMW’s Mini Cooper S (from $39,900) and the just-released Citroen DS3 DSport (from $35,990).

2010RenaultSport Clio 200 Gordini pricing:
Clio Gordini RS 200Edition$39,140

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