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New Clio Renault Sport: The Hot Hatch with Passion and Driving Pleasure Review

May 2006
Filed under: RENAULT Car News | RENAULT Headlines
May 30, 2006 -- The challenge faced by Renault Sport Technologies’ engineers when first penning New Clio Renault Sport was to respect the individual personality of Clio III, while at the same time highlighting the newcomer’s inherent qualities and dynamism. The result is an exceptional car which puts the accent firmly on performance, passion and driving pleasure.

Renault Clio Renault Sport 2.0 16 V

The new Clio Renault Sport stands out as a worthy successor to Clio Renault Sport 2.0 16V and benefits directly from Renault’s presence in Formula 1 in the form of a rear air diffuser, a ground-breaking first in this segment and directly derived from motor racing’s premier championship. In association with the front wing extractor vents, this feature guarantees outstanding aerodynamic performance. Sportier than ever, New Clio Renault Sport is powered by an evolution of the normally-aspirated 2.0 16V engine, whose power has been increased to 197hp. This is equivalent to 100hp/litre, making it the highest specific power output of its category. This has been achieved thanks notably to an increase in its volumetric efficiency which has not only resulted in extra power but has also taken torque to a best-in-class 215Nm at 5,550rpm for genuine driving pleasure in day-to-day use.

Coupled with a closer ratio six-speed gearbox featuring shorter gears, this powerful, responsive engine offers first-class sports performance and driving pleasure. Another key feature is the double-axis strut system which provides rigorously precise handling and perfect balance. Derived from Mégane Renault Sport, New Clio Renault Sport’s brakes and Brembo callipers ensure powerful, durable stopping power.

New Clio Renault Sport is built at Renault’s Dieppe plant, which specializes in the production of the brand’s sports models.

Punchy looks: Designed for performance

The sporty character of New Clio Renault Sport is unmistakably echoed by its design, both inside and out. The revised body design accentuates Clio III’s inherent racy, muscular lines.

Clio III’s distinctive, original lines have been further enhanced by the use of more athletic curves, while New Clio Renault Sport’s specific side design exudes extra power and energy. The wider front and rear wings, profiled side skirts and semi-rigid under-bumper splitter combine with the extractor vents and diffuser to assert the new car’s advanced aerodynamic engineering and sports heritage.

New Clio Renault Sport comes with large tyres (215/45) and 17-inch light alloy wheels which barely conceal the Brembo brake callipers and big discs that ensure powerful and durable stopping performance. The powerful, normally-aspirated 2.0 16V engine has necessitated a wide, bumper-mounted air intakes for improved engine cooling.

The front and rear bumpers, side protective mouldings and exterior mirrors are all body-coloured, while the door handles are in satin-finish chrome.

New Clio Renault Sport will be available in five exclusive colours: two non-metallic colours (Toro Red and Dynamo Blue), plus three metallic colours (Monako Blue, Deep Black and Makaha Grey).

Styling modifications

New Clio Renault Sport features specific bodywork, including larger front wings (+42mm) designed to house the wider track and generously-dimensioned tyres. A specific side design was developed to offer an additional 28 mm left and right and incorporate the new dimensions of the rear suspension.

The standard Clio III floor – which incorporates a well for the spare wheel – has been replaced by a flat panel designed to free up space for the exhaust silencer and twin-rear tailpipes.

Sporty interior New Clio Renault Sport’s interior trim echoes the car’s exterior styling. The drive station has been designed for driving pleasure, and the “drive it” spirit is immediately apparent in details like the aluminium pedals, footrest* and perforated-leather steering wheel with red centre-point stitching. For added comfort and efficiency, the design of the steering wheel itself ensures perfect grip for the hands. Designed and positioned for optimal clarity, the instruments feature white data on a black background. The rev counter incorporates a gear-change indicator light, while the size of the figures increases as the needle gets closer to the red zone which begins at 7,500rpm.

Renault Clio Renault Sport 2.0 16 V interior

The overriding dark charcoal colour scheme is offset by the chrome-zinc centre console and dashboard inserts which echo technology and sports performance.

Renault Clio Renault Sport 2.0 16 V guages

Specially designed Renault Sport seats ensure outstanding comfort and effective lateral support which enable the driver to feel totally at one with his or her machine, while the metallic grey seatbelts are in perfect harmony with the new dark charcoal and metallic black “Entresol” upholstery.

As with all Renault Sport Technologies-developed models, the exclusive “Renault Sport” logo appears on the instrument backgrounds, on the door sill and on the front seats. “Renault Sport” badging is also visible on the outside; on the hatch and on the satinfinish chrome side moulding inserts.

. Recaro bucket seats From the summer of 2006, New Clio Renault Sport will be available with optional bucket seats designed and developed in association with world-renowned Recaro. Perfectly in keeping with the vehicle’s sporty interior ambience, they are trimmed with “Entresol” upholstery in harmony with the rear bench seat. In addition to housing lateral airbags, these seats feature a rigid, polyamide and fibreglass-injected shell for the quality of ride normally associated with competition driving. The seatbelt slots and built-in headrest add the final, distinctive sports touch. * Left-hand drive vehicles only.

Aerodynamics derived from Formula 1 technology

Extensive development work has gone into New Clio Renault Sport’s aerodynamics, which feature front wing extractor vents and a rear air diffuser, a first for this class of vehicle.

Renault Clio Renault Sport 2.0 16 V - Aerodynamics

Air diffuser: racing technology Both visually and technologically, New Clio Renault Sport’s most striking technological innovation lies in the design of the rear bumper which incorporates an air diffuser. Derived from Formula 1, this feature has only ever previously been seen on range-topping, high-priced sports cars.

The diffuser’s purpose is to prevent rear-end lift and maintain stability at high speed by channelling air flow in such a way to increase the suction effect. The radius of the diffuser’s curve is engineered to create a zone of low pressure beneath the car.

The downforce generated by the diffuser means there is no need for a rear spoiler to counter the phenomenon of lift. For optimal stability, the system reduces lift by a factor of three and produces the equivalent of 40kg of rear downforce on motorways and up to 70kg on circuit without detracting from the car’s carefully honed aerodynamics designed to achieve a low CdA.

To maximize the diffuser’s effectiveness, the flushfitted dual exhausts are housed within the outer channels. Positioned in this way, they do not interfere with the efficiency of the aerodynamics.

Extractor vents for optimized performance

The front wing extractor vents also have an aerodynamic function by reducing turbulence to optimize the car’s drag coefficient. The extractor vents facilitate both the flow and hot air from under the bonnet. At the same time, the vents direct air flow along the sides of the car to further enhance performance.

Renault Clio Renault Sport 2.0 16 V - Extractor vents

New Clio Renault Sport also comes with a specific bumper and grille, as well as a semi-rigid aerodynamic splitter which restricts the amount of air that passes underneath the car.

Diffusers in Formula 1

The diffuser is one of the most significant features of modern Formula 1 aerodynamics technology and exploits the speed of the air that passes underneath the car to draw the chassis to the ground. Airflow passing underneath the car at the front is channelled by a flat bottom to the diffuser where the air is accelerated before being forced out at the rear, thereby creating a zone of low pressure which “sucks” the car to the ground. Like a conventional wing, the diffuser generates significant vertical downforce but doesn’t impede the car’s forward movement.

Renault Sport Technologies’ engineers have exploited the same principle to ensure that New Clio Renault Sport stays “glued” to the road.

A chassis engineered for high performance

New Clio Renault Sport’s exacting, balanced sports handling combines driving pleasure at speed with advanced safety. The dimensions of its chassis have been modified compared with those of Clio III, including a longer wheelbase and wider front and rear tracks. New Renault Clio Sport also comes with a double-axis strut system which features aluminium components for even greater precision.

For enhanced stability, the wheelbase of New Clio Renault Sport has been extended by 10mm compared with Clio III to 2,585mm thanks to the introduction of a double-axis strut system. Grip and cornering performance have been optimized thanks to the new car’s wider front and rear track, which have been extended by 48 and 50mm respectively in comparison with Clio III.

Innovative front suspension, strengthened rear suspension

New Clio Renault Sport comes with a new-design double-axis strut system featuring aluminium parts with a view to optimizing its weight. This technology guarantees precision and optimal traction in all situations. Driving pleasure is further enhanced by the car’s incisive front end which is insensitive to torque-steer, whether in the middle of a tight turn or in a straight line. Derived from Clio III, the programmed deflection, torsion beam rear suspension has been strengthened to match the potential of the double-axis strut system and to ensure precise, immediate response when turning into corners. The stiffness of the sports version’s rear suspension has been uprated by 25% thanks to a 30mm (an increase of 10mm) anti-roll bar. The new concept, single-piece stub axles feature reinforced bearings and have been lengthened in order to widen the rear track. Their diameter has also been increased by 5mm to 30mm (instead of 25mm in the case of Clio III).

A nimble, responsive chassis for even greater driving pleasure

The suspension of New Clio Renault Sport ensures a first-class compromise between efficiency and filtering performance. Front and rear shock absorbers feature specific valving developed to optimize body control. Meanwhile, the stiffness of the front and rear springs and the use of polyurethane bump stops favour positive car control on very rough roads.

The subframe is the same as that used for MĂ©gane Renault Sport and includes transverse strengthening for improved front-end rigidity. The front subframe bushes and rear suspension mountings are also stiffer, as are the upper front shock absorber mountings.

All these features combine to favour feedback to the driver as well as a heightened sense of precision at the wheel. The calibration parameters of the electric power steering is specific to New Clio Renault Sport, while the model’s Continental Sport Contact 3 tyres (215/45 R17) also contribute to the suspension’s excellent directional stability.

Uprated braking Derived from that of Mégane Renault Sport, New Clio Renault Sport’s braking system ensures effective, durable stopping power, plus progressive, easy-to-dose pedal travel. The system comprises 312mm-diameter cross-drilled front discs with Brembo four-pot callipers and 300mm diameter discs at the rear.

Double-axis strut system The double-axis strut system ensures a significant reduction in the effects of transverse, engine torque-induced forces as the car accelerates under cornering. The steering axis of New Clio Renault Sport’s front suspension is totally independent of the damping system, in contrast to a MacPherson-type set-up in which the steering axis is linked to the lower arm and the upper attachment of the damper.

The rotation of the wheel around its axis is ensured by a pivoting link between the hub-carrier (1) and the aluminium pivot carrier (2). The stub axle offset (the distance between the centre of the wheel and the intersection between its rotational and steering axes) has consequently been reduced to 34mm compared with 48mm in the case of New Clio’s MacPherson-type suspension. The pivot carrier is located on the lower aluminium boomerang arm (3). It is prevented from rotating by a rod (4) which links the two components.

A specific power output of 100hp/litre New Clio Renault Sport’s normally-aspirated 2.0 16V engine delivers 100hp per litre.

The dynamic qualities of New Clio Renault Sport mean the normally-aspirated 2.0 16V engine – designed by Renault Sport Technologies in association with Renault’s Powertrain Engineering Department – can be exploited to the full. Coupled with a six-speed gearbox, this responsive (215Nm at 5,550rpm) and powerful (197hp [145kW] at 7,250rpm) powerplant provides top-class sports performance and driving pleasure.

A sporty normally-aspirated engine New Clio Renault Sport is powered by the F4R RS normally-aspirated 2.0 16V engine which delivers 197hp at 7,250rpm and maximum torque of 215Nm at 5,550rpm. Based on the engine which forged the reputation of Clio II Renault Sport 182 2.0 16V, it boasts a specific power output of 100hp per litre which ensures exceptional performance for New Clio Renault Sport in the hot hatch segment. The normally-aspirated engine combines performance, dynamism, flexibility, immediate response and excellent re-acceleration from all engine speeds. It is also easier to adapt for competition use in derivatives such as the Clio Group N and Clio Cup one-make race versions.

At low revs and at engine speeds below 5,000rpm, New Clio Renault Sport ensures a level of response and driving pleasure adapted to day-to-day motoring. At higher revs (more than 5,000rpm), the performance and “bark” of New Clio Renault Sport’s engine are unleashed to reveal the car’s true sports heritage. The uprated power and torque figures stem from a number of modifications and optimizations to the powertrain:

- as in Formula 1, the inlet acoustics have evolved to take volumetric efficiency to more than 100% thanks to the optimization of the sections and lengths of the intake tracts.

- to permit the intake of additional air and to facilitate the flow of gases, extensive work has also gone into the valve seat aerodynamics. The calibration of the camshaft has also been modified with a view to producing a longer and bigger aperture of the valves (11.5mm of valve lift instead of an average 9mm).

- the design of the combustion chamber and the piston has resulted in a high compression ratio of 11.5:1 for enhanced combustion and performance, plus lower emissions.

- continuously variable valve timing improves performance at all engine speeds by varying the camshaft angle to optimize the opening and closing of the valves.

Driving pleasure and acoustic comfort Renault Sport Technologies’ engineers have sought to achieve a signature engine sound in keeping with New Clio Renault Sport’s sports pedigree. From a discreet pitch at low revs, the engine begins to give a glimpse of its promise at mid engine speeds before producing a hallmark bark when pushed to the limit. Meanwhile, the reinforced subframe and specific floor minimize boom thanks to special surface soundproofing treatment that reduces the radiation of noise from the exhaust. The 3Y-type exhaust manifold also offers an excellent compromise between acoustic performance, power and low emissions.

To prevent boom at certain engine speeds, the crankshaft has evolved too. Made from steel, it features eight counterweights which improve its rigidity and balance in a bid to reduce parasitic vibrations and friction in the camshafts.

A six-speed gearbox designed for performance

New Clio Renault Sport comes with an evolution of the TL4 six-speed gearbox, the first Alliancedeveloped manual transmission which is capable of handling up to 240Nm (24.5mkg). This precision, close-ratio gearbox features specific gearing to favour acceleration from all intermediate engine speeds.

Acceleration from standstill to 100kph requires a mere 6.9 seconds, while the kilometre standing start is covered in just 27.5 seconds. Top speed is 215kph, restricted to 7,000rpm.

With a combined cycle fuel consumption of 8.9l/100km (209g of CO2/km), New Clio Renault Sport’s fuel consumption is amongst the lowest of the hot hatch segment for cars of comparable power output.

No compromise on safety

Like Clio III, which was awarded a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating, the focus during New Clio Renault Sport’s development was as much on excellence in terms of safety as it was on performance. The new car has benefited from Renault’s acclaimed expertise in the domain to emerge as a passive safety benchmark in the hot hatch segment. New Clio Renault Sport features Renault’s third-generation System for Restraint and Protection which guarantees optimal protection for all occupants wherever they are sitting in the car. New Clio Renault Sport is equipped with the third-generation Renault System for Restraint and

Renault Clio Renault Sport 2.0 16 V - Safety

Active safety: a development priority

Like design and sports performance, active safety played a central role in the development of New Clio Renault Sport. In addition to the quality of its chassis, the car features the latest-evolution driver aids and is equipped as standard with Generation 8 Bosch ABS complete with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD).

New Clio Renault Sport also comes with ESP which has been reprogrammed to higher limits and can be disconnected. Its operation is adapted to the sort of dynamic driving style associated with this type of car, while at the same time contributing to a high degree of active safety. The ESP system comes complete with ASR traction control to assist starting and accelerating when grip is at a premium.

Passive safety: uncompromising protection for all passengers

New Clio Renault Sport features the third-generation Renault System for Restraint and Protection which guarantees optimal protection for all occupants wherever they are sitting. The extremely rigid cabin forms an indeformable structure which acts as a survival cell for passengers and combats against the intrusion of front-end components. These, in turn, are designed to stack up under impact.

Both front seatbelts of New Clio Renault Sport are equipped with pyrotechnic pretensioners for optimal body restraint under impact, plus built-in load limiters calibrated at 400daN for enhanced thorax protection. To protect the pelvic region and to combat submarining, the front seat cushions come with built-in anti-submarining airbags. Some versions of New Clio Renault Sport are equipped with eight airbags as standard: two controlled-deflation adaptive front airbags, four lateral airbags and two anti-submarining airbags (fitted in the base of the front seats).

In the event of side impact, and in addition to the lateral airbags (thorax airbags built into the front seats, plus curtain airbags to protect the heads of front and rear passengers), New Clio Renault Sport comes with spacers and padding in the door panels. It also features an aluminium bar (a first inaugurated on Clio III) that adapts the load exerted upon impact to ensure that occupants are afforded the most effective protection possible.

In the event of rear impact, New Clio Renault Sport is equipped with rear impact energy-absorbing front seats and headrests. This new technology marks a significant breakthrough when it comes to protecting the neck against the effects of whiplash. When adjusting its height, it’s the headrest itself which slides inside the seat back and not the rods. Since the latter no longer form a rigid element inside the seatback, the occupant’s back can, under impact, push further back into the seat until his or her head comes into contact with the headrest. The rear bench seat comes with three integrated headrests, while the seat itself and its anchorage points are reinforced with a view to limiting reclining of the seat back under impact.

A hot hatch success story

New Clio Renault Sport is in perfect keeping with the Renault tradition of hot hatches and successive generations of sporty Clios. It is assembled in Dieppe.

The objective of Clio Renault Sport was twofold: to serve as a flagship for the Clio range and to appeal to a male clientele. In the course of the past six years, it has overwhelmingly met both these targets. Based on Clio III, New Clio Renault Sport will seek to continue the Renault Sport brand’s success in the Clio range, while at the same time broadening the Renault brand's worldwide appeal.

Renault has invested Û29 million in the development of New Clio Renault Sport which uses the same Alliance B platform as Clio III.

A single production site

The Renault Sport factory in Dieppe is the only plant that produces Renault Sport models. The factory also ensures the production of MĂ©gane Renault Sport, as well as New Clio Renault Sport and its competition derivative, Clio Cup.

In keeping with the system employed for previous Clio Renault Sport models, the three-door bodies will be built at Flins and then transported to the Renault Sport factory in Dieppe.

An uncontested success

Since the car’s launch in 1999, 37,545 Clio Renault Sport models have been sold in Western Europe.

The model has proved particularly popular in three countries, namely the United Kingdom, France and Switzerland which accounted for 72% of Clio Renault Sport sales between 1999 and the end of November 2005. With 13,011 cars registered, the United Kingdom alone accounts for at least 35% of total sales.

New Clio Renault Sport is expected to broaden the Clio range’s target market, succeed in a higher number of countries in Western Europe and elsewhere, and also showcase Renault’s technological expertise in the domain of sports models.

Equipment and prices: CLIO RENAULT SPORT

New Clio Renault Sport is a concentrate of technology and equipment derived from the world of motor sport. The car will go on sale in France on June 23, 2006 at the price of €23,000. Order books for New Clio Renault Sport are now open within the Renault network in France.

Designed from A to Z with driving pleasure in mind, New Clio Renault Sport is the latest addition to the Clio line which was recently voted Car of the Year 2006. Developed by Renault Sport Technologies, the model features exclusive styling and equipment. Its side design and enlarged wings are immediately visible pointers to New Clio Renault Sport’s sports car pedigree. The large air intake grille in the front bumper, side extractor vents and rear diffuser all reinforce the car’s dynamic looks.

Similarly, the cabin includes a host of details that recall the world of competition, including the aluminium pedal caps and footrest, as well as the red centre-point steering wheel marking.

New Clio Renault Sport is available in five body colours: two non-metallic colours (Dynamo Blue and Toro Red) and three metallic colours (Monako Blue, Deep Black and Makaha Grey).

New Clio Renault Sport goes on sale in France on June 23, 2006 at the price of €23,000. Order books are now open within the network in France.

New Clio Renault Sport: standard equipment

• ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and disconnectable ESP

• Air recycling mode

• Aluminium pedal caps and footrest

• Anti-submarining airbags underneath the front seat cushions

• Automatic activation of headlamps and rain sensor

• Automatic climate control

• BeBop 17-inch alloy wheels

• Body-coloured door mirrors

• Body-coloured side protective mouldings with Renault Sport satin-finish chrome insert

• Cooled glovebox (9.4 litres)

• Cruise control/speed limiter

• Curtain head-protection airbags in front and rear seats

• Dark charcoal/metallic black “Entresol” upholstery fabric

• Double-optic headlamps

• Driver and front passenger lateral thorax-protection airbags

• Driver and passenger sun visors with vanity mirrors

• Electronic engine immobilizer with transponder

• Electric heated door mirrors

• Foglamps

• “Follow You Home” light

• Front adaptive driver and passenger airbags

• Front cabin light

• Front power windows with one-touch operation

• Glove box light

• Height-adjustable front threepoint seatbelts with pretensioner and load limiter

• Height-adjustable leather steering wheel with red centrepoint marking

• Height- and lumber-adjustable driver’s seat

• Isofix child seat anchorage system for front seat and rear side seats

• Key with remote-control central locking

• Manual deactivation of front passenger airbag

• New-generation heightadjustable front headrests

• Rear three-point seatbelts with pretensioners for the two side seats and load limiters

• Rear window wash/wipe, automatically activated by selection of reverse gear

• Renault Anti-Intruder Device

• Renault Sport-badged sills

• Renault Sport badging on hatch

• Satin-finish chrome door handles

• Short roof aerial

• Specific Renault Sport-badged dial backgrounds

• Three-point rear centre seatbelt with reel

• Trip computer

• Twin exhaust tailpipes built into the diffuser

• Tyre repair aerosols

• Variable assist electric power steering

• Ventilation filter

• Windscreen wash/wipe with 2 speeds + variable intermittent

• 2x15W RDS radio/CD

• 12V electric socket

• 60/40 split fold-down rear bench seat with three headrests


Adaptive distance Xenon headlamps with headlamp washers + Style Pack €650

Cabasse-Tronic RDS 4x40W radio/CD with 6CD changer €310

Carminat Satellite Navigation (including RDS 4x15W radio/CD) €1,000

Double tinted rear and rear side windows €180

Electric folding door mirrors €150

Electric panoramic sunroof €700

Heated front seats €210

Metallic paint €360

Pre-telephone equipment €130

RDS 4x15W radio/CD with MP3 playback €100

Renault hands-free card and rake-adjustable steering wheel €400

Style Pack (additional cornering lights + back tinted headlamp glass) €150

Tyre pressure monitoring system €200

Source: Renault

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