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Published on March 3rd, 2012 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Renault Clio RS 200 CUP Test Drive Review

The thing about this Renault Clio RS 200 CUP is that it doesn’t matter if you’ve never driven a true hot hatch because you will learn to appreciate it immediately. It feels and sounds raw, and the design is so current and delightfully hardcore. The RS’s engineers did good to highlight what the hatchback is meant to be. The fat wheel arches look menacing while the extractors and vents are truly functional; they remove hot air from the engine bay more effectively and direct air flow to improve aerodynamics. For that matter, the rear end is equipped with an F1-inspired air diffuser that pushes the car down with up to 40kg of force at high speeds.
And the effect is pronounced on the road. It feels almost impossible to lose traction, including at the front tires, making the RS a nimble performer. Its naturally aspirated 2-litre engine loves to work hard, demanding a lot of commitment from the driver to tap into the full 215Nm of potential. The short throw 6-speed gearing makes it easier and more involving as well as the weighty clutch pedal. The steering gets top marks for accuracy and directness. A bit more feel would be perfect but the Clio’s sublime balance and rigid chassis helps to compensate. Renault claims 6.9 second to get the hatch to 100kmh from standstill, but it actually doesn’t feel like it. Perhaps the reason could be the suspension, stiff but still cushioning enough to make it a daily driver. Personally, what truly makes the Clio RS a delightful hot hatch is that you can spend countless hours on your favourite driving road just finding out its many dynamic layers and depths.
Stab at the accelerator anywhere in the rev range and the car reacts without hesitation. This engine is unflappable from the moment you start it and stays sweet to the very last drop of torque. Even with just 215Nm of torque on the boil, there is a good spread of power between 2nd and 4th gear. Progressive input nets progressive response so it’s relatively easy to keep the tail in check when you need to and overwhelm the rears when you want. And whatever antics your right foot starts, the rest of the car is more than able to finish the distance with ease. Built entirely by the Renault Motorports division, this Clio RS is a not a simple factory produced car like its likely competitors. Renault Sport takes a showroom car and adds their DNA to every section of the Clio to produce a track focused hot hatch.
The steering is crisp, meaty, and responsive. While it is quick, it stops cleverly short of being nervous. Shod with light weight 17” wheels and standing on tight sports suspension, the Clio RS entertains the driver at every corner. The Brembo brakes stops you with no fade on every execution. You will be inspired to find more corners after the first few when you feel how easily the Clio RS rides corners with its roller coaster like handling. The chassis is adamantly neutral leaving you wondering if you driving limits will ever be met.

Its performance and simple, pure fun factor comes with yet another angle to surprise as well. Despite of the explosive acceleration and 225kmh top speed, fuel consumption in combined cycle is just at 8.2-litres per 100 kilometers. That translates to a lot of hard driving, for not a lot of petrol money. Its price tag however, is another thing altogether but like all sinfully good things, it’s worth the price. This Renault Clio RS has a five-star EuroNCAP crash test rating and twin rear ISOFIX points and only 666 units made for the global market.
Renault Clio RS200 CUP Specifications
Engine: 4-cylinders 16V normal aspirated
Power: 203bhp @ 7100rpm
Torque: 215Nm @ 5400rpm
Capacity: 1997cc
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Speed: 225km/h
0-100km/h: 6.9sces
Price: From RM197,000.00

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