If the standard fourth-generation Clio isn't sporty enough for you, then you may want to take a gander at its Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo big brother. The aggressive new hatch ditches the 2-litre engines of its predecessors in favour of a 1.6-litre turbocharged unit, but manages to deliver the same power with improved torque.
Now you can have 200bhp at 6,000rpm but also 240Nm of shove -- a 25Nm improvement on the outgoing car. Carbon emissions with this engine are said to be 25 per cent lower than the previous Clio III Renaultsport, so now you can save the planet as you destroy rubber.
Unlike previous sporty Clios, there's no manual transmission in the Renaultsport 200 Turbo. Instead, it uses the company's Efficient Double Clutch (EDC) dual-clutch gearbox, which lets you shift up and down using paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. It's unlikely to provide as visceral a shifting experience as previous hot Clios, but Renault says the system will change gears in as little as 150ms, so it may appeal to serious racers who want to shave a few tenths off their lap time.
If on-track hoonery is your focus, you'll be pleased to hear the the Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo will be available with a choice of either Sport or Cup chassis setups. The former promises an 'optimum' balance of sportiness and comfort during everyday motoring, while the latter, which rides 5mm lower and is 15 per cent stiffer, is aimed at those who aren't averse to the odd track day.
Both versions feature a diffuser and spoiler combination that are said to generate 80 per cent and 20 per cent extra downforce respectively.
One thing that dampens our excitement for the Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo is the fact it relies on Renault's R-Sound Effect system, which plays artificial engine noises through the car's speakers as you drive. It's able to replicate the noises of a range of 'iconic' engines, tuning the sound to the speed and acceleration of the car – a bit like in a video game. It's clever and all, but surely a better solution would have been to deliver an engine and exhaust combination that sounds great without electronic aids.
Until we take the EDC-equipped model out for a spin it's hard to tell whether the top-of-the-line Clio will offer the same sheer fun as its predecessors, but we can hope. More on this as we get it.