The new Renault Clio RS has received mixed reactions since launch – some have criticised the lack of a manual gearbox, whilst others have criticised how soft it has gone, particularly as the last model was a true hardcore hot hatch. But with time, things change, and Renault is hoping to have righted the wrongs with the updated Renault Clio RS, now available in South Africa.
The face-lift Renault Clio RS benefits from a couple of key visual upgrades. Slight tweaks have brought it more in line with the refreshed Clio, but the new chequered flag LED lighting in the front bumper is the true star of the visual show.
Other visual upgrades include new head- and taillights, updated RS badging, new RS alloy wheels (17-inch on LUX models, 18-inch on TROPHY models), and a new rear diffuser hosing twin exhaust pipes.
No face-lift would be complete without a nip and a tuck to the interior and this is no different. The Renault Sport bucket seats have been updated, the interior features red detailing and red stitching, and heated leather seats have been added to the TROPHY spec models.
Two Power Outputs
The new Renault Clio RS is available in two specifications, with two different power outputs gleaned from its 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine. The entry level LUX spec boasts outputs of 147kW and 260Nm. The new TROPHY spec however ups power to 162kW, with an additional 20Nm of torque unlocked in 4th and 5th gears. In both models, power is sent to the front wheels through a re-programmed 6-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox – there’s still no manual available no matter how much we beg. There’s also no limited slip differential equipped to either model, although the ‘RS Diff’ is essentially brake based torque vectoring to mimic the effects of a LSD.
Performance-wise, the entry spec Renault Clio RS LUX model is no slouch – 0-100km/h in 6.7 seconds, a 14.6 second quarter mile, and a top speed of 230km/h. The Renault Clio RS TROPHY is a little quicker, but only a little. 0-100km/h is dispatched in 6.6 seconds, the standing quarter in 14.5; but where the additional power and torque is felt the most is in the overtaking acceleration. 80-100km/h in the TROPHY is half a second quicker than the LUX; 4.0s vs. 4.5s.
But as real enthusiasts know, more power does not a better car make; and the marginal difference in straight line performance is likely not an indication of the Renault Clio RS TROPHY’s prowess. The TROPHY not only benefits from a specially developed Akrapovic exhaust, but also gets tweaked suspension to aid handling. A 20mm front drop, and 10mm at the rear sees the TROPHY as the steadier model through corners, whilst the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres add further grip. Stopping is also sufficiently enhanced thanks to 320mm front discs, and identifiable due to the red brake calipers.
Now for the tricky bit – price. The Renault Clio RS has never been the cheapest in the segment, and this update is no different. The Renault Clio RS LUX is fairly attainable though with a base price of R379 900; however the Clio RS TROPHY carries an alarming price tag of R419 900. Metallic paint adds a further R2 500 to either model, whilst Sirius Yellow or Frost Pearl White paint will add another R10 000 to the asking price.
The Renault Clio RS TROPHY may offer an Akrapovic exhaust, lowered suspension, and sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, but is it really worth R419 900? A staggering R80 000 more than the new limited edition Ford Fiesta ST200?