Renault has introduced the most hardcore version of its potent pocket rocket, the Clio RS Trophy, into the Australian market. The car, which comes with revised suspension and a more powerful engine, sells for a driveaway price of $42,990.
Just like the pre-update version of the Renault Clio RS, this newer Trophy’s appeal stems from the sharper handling and engine tuning lavished upon it by Renault Sport, the marque’s high-performance arm, engineering it to be the most adapted variant of the hot hatch for the track.
Power still comes from the Nissan-sourced 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder MR petrol engine, but in the Trophy has been massaged to produce 162kW and 280Nm at peak, an increase of 13kW and 20Nm, a 10 percent improvement over the standard car in base tune. Renault has also managed to have it sip just 5.9-litres/100km on a combined cycle while emitting 135g/km of CO2.
The majority of this is achieved via revised engine mapping and increasing boost pressure from 0.96 bar to 1.03 bar, but also by the revised air intake system and titanium Akrapovič exhaust system combined for the motor’s freer breathing, quicker response to throttle input, and quicker 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.6 seconds with Launch Control enabled.
Of course, that rapid acceleration is aided by the car’s sole transmission option: the returning 6-speed Renault EDC (Efficient Dual Clutch). RS says the gearbox hardware and accompanying software has been refined and has underwent substantial recalibration here, though, amounting to 50 percent faster shifts and greater low-speed flexibility for easy urban driving.
To help the extra power and torque apply itself to road, RS have added 40 percent stiffer spring rates as well as new dampers entirely. The reduced ride height also plays a role in reducing lap times, which drops by 20mm at the front and 10mm at the rear compared to the standard Clio RS, but surely an even more evident change in driving feel would come from the 10 percent quicker steering rack (13.2:1 ratio).
The new Clio RS Trophy will be equipped with track-ready Michelin Pilot Super Sport 205/40 R18 tyres as standard fitted onto 18-inch black alloy wheels. The RS Differential returns to manage power distribution between either front wheel and, with the ESC and ASR systems able to be fully disconnected, is a recipe for a very entertaining thing to thrash around some corners.
In keeping with the visual updates introduced for the new Clio RS, the Trophy also receives the new RS Vision LED fog lamps in a chequered flag design. In the dark, they coordinate the vehicle’s fog lights, cornering lights, side lights as well as the dipped and main beams to enhance visibility.
Not much as changed on the inside, though, as pretty much the same Clio RS dashboard greets the driver. However, sharper eyes will notice the carbon-look given to the air vent surrounds, door handles, and gear lever base plate.
There’s black leather sports seats with red highlight stitching with the RS logo embroidered on the adjustable headrests. The central RS Monitor n-board telemetry system also returns, merged here with the R-LINK navigation and infotainment suite. There is no Apple CarPlay support, unfortunately, but Android users will receive MirrorLink support in lieu of Android Auto as consolation.
The next piece of kit the Clio RS Trophy comes standard with - and rather antithetical to the Trophy’s ethos - is a 7-speaker Bose audio system that comprises of a pair of tweeters on the dashboard, four mid-woofers located on each door, and lastly a ‘RichBass' subwoofer and amplifier package in the boot.
The local range of Renault Sport Clios are now made up of:
- RS Sport: $30,990.
- RS Cup: $32,490.
- RS Trophy: $42,990, drive away.