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Week at the wheel: Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup. Image by Dave Jenkins.

Week at the wheel: Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup
Renault picked up the baton from Peugeot as maker of the best hot hatches and it's not giving it back any time soon.

 



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| Week at the wheel | Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup |

Inside & Out: star star star star star

The Clio is a familiar sight on our roads now and the more muscular styling of the sporting versions has grown on us with time. Recent facelift tweaks include some 'interesting' colour choices and optional black inserts for the front grille and rear diffuser. Our test car was finished in Alien green, a colour so bright that you need to see it in the flesh to appreciate it; with white alloys and the black inserts, it's a striking package, certainly not for shrinking violets. On the inside, the latest Renaultsport Recaro seats grip in all the right places.

Engine & Transmission: star star star star star

The pursuit of the magic 200 figure - and increased drivability - has led Renault to make a number of changes to the previous 197bhp engine, mainly around breathing. In actual fact the added power - all 3bhp of it - doesn't actually make itself felt - it would take a very sensitive backside indeed to sense the added poke, even in a back-to-back test. What does stand proud of the 197 is the additional mid-range torque - gone is the almost binary delivery to be replaced with fairly passable in-gear performance.

There's still a pronounced sweeter spot at the upper limits of the rev range in which you need to operate to make the best progress but the difference isn't as great as it was and the electric responses and soundtrack of the naturally aspirated version are still preferable as the enthusiasts' choice over forced induction. As ever, the slick six-speed gearbox is a great partner for the engine.

Ride & Handling: star star star star star

Renault's chassis engineers' work makes itself felt the moment you move away, as the Clio fidgets its way along the road, though it doesn't hop and skip, it flows with the tarmac - the stiffer damping of the Cup chassis is immediately obvious. It isn't uncomfortable though and well worth the slight degradation in around town ride quality for the benefits that become evident the first time you drive this particular version of the Clio.

The Cup package elevates the Renaultsport chassis to new heights. The positive elements are carried over but the tweaks to ride height and suspension settings further enhance them as the limits have been raised without losing the forgiving nature. In practice the Cup chassis devours B-roads with pleasure but it's on smoother surfaces where it truly comes to life - the chassis clinging on gamely whilst retaining its composure at all times, allowing adjustability up to and beyond the limits of adhesion. Anyone considering regular track days should consider the Cup the default choice as the compromises are more than offset by the extra sharpness in the chassis.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: star star star star star

Luxury isn't the primary focus of this model; as such, comforts like the air conditioning have been dispensed with in the interest of weight saving and reduced parasitic loading on the engine. This logic actually makes the Cup cheaper than the standard Renaultsport 200, though many of the features that have been removed can be added in and the Cup chassis can be added to the standard specification car should you wish.

In terms of value for money the Cup really shines. In the real world it has as much performance as most people would ever want - or be able to use - on the road and actually trades blows with cars 10,000 more expensive on the average cross country blast. Added to this day-to-day capability is the Cup's capacity to rock up to a track day and giant kill on the circuit too. The fact this is accessible for around 15k makes the Clio Cup one of the performance car bargains on sale at the moment.

Overall: star star star star star

As a quick road car or part-time track tool the Renaultsport Clio Cup has few natural rivals. Fewer still that can offer the same enjoyment, involvement and thrills that are found here. It's a cracking little car enthusiasts will love.

Dave Jenkins - 24 Sep 2009









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2009 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup specifications:
Price: 15,750 on-the-road.
0-62mph: 6.9 seconds
Top speed: 141mph
Combined economy: 34.4mpg
Emissions: 195g/km
Kerb weight: 1240kg

Full technical specifications

2009 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200. Image by Dave Jenkins.

2009 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200. Image by Renault.



2009 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2009 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2009 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2009 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2009 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 






 

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