There’s a new French hot hatch in town as the new RS-fettled Clios are already populating showrooms throughout the country. It’s an updated version of the fourth-generation Renault Clio RS EDC that was introduced in 2013.
This RS’ Down Under debut comes just a couple of months after Renault Australia brought in the facelifted version of the standard Clio. Like that car, the visible changes are actually quite few, but it’s the collective and unseen improvements that’s needed to win the day - at least, that’s what they’re banking on.
Over the outgoing Clio RS, this 2017 version comes in two chassis options - the more everyday Sport and the firmer Cup - with some subtle exterior changes, some inspired from the ultra-aggressive Clio RS16 concept. The newness stems from a new front bumper that incorporates the chequered-flag style LED fog lamps.
These new lamps, which work in tandem with the main front illuminators and called ‘R.S VISION’, can oscillate between high beam, low beam, and a mode that’s corner-adaptive and responsive to fog, all while varying the brightness of its beam to match the situation.
There’s also two new wheel designs that correspond to the different chassis tune options, the former measuring 17-inches while the latter takes an 18-inch foursome. Meanwhile, other new features include automatic start-stop, climate control, tyre pressure monitoring, LED cabin lights, and front parking sensors.
Renault is also offering three option packs with the 2017 Clio RS, making up for the simplified model matrix that does away with the previously available RS Premium grade and the more hardcore Trophy.
These kick off with the more luxury focused Leather Pack ($1,500) that adds dark leather upholstery with red highlights, heated front seats and a height-adjustable passenger seat. Further, for another $1,500, the Entertainment Pack upgrades the 7-inch R-LINK infotainment system to include a BOSE speaker array, satellite navigation with voice control, and phone mirroring through Android Auto (no Apple CarPlay?).
Finally, the Black Pack brings some of the older Trophy’s on-road menace with an F1-inspired black blade on the front bumper, a black boot lid and Renault Sport badge, black rear diffuser, black trim door inserts, and adds black alloys to the Clio RS Sport.
The 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine returns, mated again to the 6-speed EDC (Efficient Dual Clutch) automatic. All versions come with selectable driving modes - Normal, Sport, Race - including Launch Control. In a straight sprint, it will hit 100km/h from rest in 6.7 seconds.
Renault Australia’s Managing Director, Justin Hocevar, said: “Australia consistently appears in the top five for global Renault Sport sales and we expect this to continue with this new-look model. Of course, the Clio R.S. benefits from Renault’s five year unlimited kilometre warranty and Capped Price Servicing, providing our customers with outstanding value and peace of mind.”
- Clio RS Sport - $30,990
- Clio RS Cup - $32,490