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Renault Clio

X85 Clio III Phase II

1 Mar 2010

IN March 2010 Renault released a facelifted Clio RS. Dubbed RS 200, it features better low-rev performance, sharper steering, more responsive handling, improved cabin presentation, and higher specification levels.

Only the more driver-orientated ‘Cup’ chassis cars have been brought into Australia, in two guises: standard and Trophee.

As the name implies, the ‘200’ is more powerful than the old 197, and refers to the brake horsepower rating of the latest quick Clio. That’s also a nod to how important the UK market is to Renault even though the French invented the metric system. But RS 147.5 (Kilowatts) doesn’t have the same ring to it, apparently.

That’s the new power rating anyway, a meagre 2.5kW rise from the 197’s rating. The RS 200’s identical 215Nm torque top also seems disappointing until you learn that it occurs at 150rpm below the old engine at 5400rpm.

Changes to the 1998cc 2.0-litre twin-cam 16-valve four-cylinder F4R RS engine include revisions to the cylinder head, CVVT continuous variable valve timing, ECU device, and exhaust system. The camshaft’s calibration has been modified so valve lift rises from 9mm to 11.5mm for a larger valve aperture. The compression ratio remains at 11.5:1.

It all means that there is now 20 per cent more torque available at lower revs, and that 95 per cent of it is accessible at 3000rpm. The 147.5kW power max also happens sooner, at 7100rpm (it was at a very heady 7250rpm). Zero to 100km/h happens in 6.9 seconds, while top speed is 225km/h (in UK spec).

Consumption and emissions also drop slightly, by 0.2 litres per 100 kilometres and four grams per kilometre to 8.2L/100km and 195g/km respectively.

Renault has also shortened the first three indirect gear ratios on the Clio’s TL4 six-speed manual transmission (no automatic is available), while open road users should appreciate the slightly higher sixth gear that strives to reduce engine noise at speed.

Since this is a Cup chassis, the springs are stiffer by 27 per cent up front and 30 per cent out back, while the shock absorbers have also been hardened, by 15 per cent.

Furthermore, torsional rigidity has risen by 10 per cent, and the rack and pinion steering ratio is 7.5 per cent faster. Brakes are 312mm ventilated discs paired with four-piston Brembo callipers up front while the rears use 300mm solid discs with single-piston TRW callipers.

Other changes include a 21mm front anti-roll bar (up by 1mm), and the tyres are specific Continental Sport Contact III measuring 215/45 R17. The new standard alloy wheel is 1kg lighter than the old design, which is retained for the Trophee.

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