Renault’s Cup fever
The Clio Renault Sport 200 Cup is a fun-filled drive, but it comes at a price, writes Paul Gover
THE words sport and cup take on a special meaning when they are applied to something from the Renault stable. They mean fast and faster, as well as the sort of inspired tweaking that only comes from a full factory hot shop that rivals HSV and FPV in Australia for focused and enjoyable driving.
The latest in the line is the Clio Renault Sport 200 Cup, a car built up from a city runabout into one of the world’s most fun-filled drives.
Renault Sport has done the Clio before, with the 197, but the 200 reflects a horsepower boost to double-ton results as well as upgrade work on the mechanical and cosmetic fronts.
Renault never got the basic Clio to work in Australia because of a too-high starting price and too-low quality, but it’s cashing in on the Renault Sport models.
But there is still a huge contrast in Renault showrooms between the Sport models and the impressive Koleos SUV, not to mention the Laguna which has never fired in a class where the Toyota Camry is consistently on target.
A $36,490 starting price, and more for the hotter Trophee version, looks silly on a car that runs in the same basic class as the $13,990 Hyundai Getz. But the Clio is more than just a size fighter.
The basic Clio, as we know, is a costly car and there is plenty of extra cost in everything from giant brakes and high-grip tyres to monster alloy wheels. The Renault Sport upgrade also includes such costly tweaking as wider front and rear guards, and the Trophee pack even adds sensational race-style Recaro bucket seats.
So you really need to measure the hot Clio against the Volkswagen Golf GTi and even the Subaru WRX and Mitsubishi Evo, at least for the fun factor. It’s an impossible deal to make on any rational basis, because these cars are more emotional than rational. But Renault does claim a best-in-class power-to-weight ratio, which helps to offset the size-against-price mismatch.
THE go-faster gear in every Renault Sport car makes it special, starting with the engine. This one makes 147.5kW/215Nm, up slightly on power and a lot on torque, though it still needs to be buzzed close to the redline to do its best work. There is a six-speed manual gearbox only, with the three bottom gears stacked closer for a sharper sprint response, as well as 17-inch alloy wheels, giant four-wheel disc brakes and Continental Sport 3 tyres.
Renault Sport claims improvements in a variety of areas, from fuel economy to steering response, safety to suspension grip and feel.
The track is wider at both ends than a standard Clio, as you would expect, and the springs and shocks are tighter than the previous 197.