1. What is it?
It’s the Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy – a hotter version of the regular RS and Cup models aimed at hardcore enthusiasts.
2. What’s so special about it?
Quite a lot actually. It will be produced for a limited period only and features a host of mechanical and visual tweaks to make it far more appealing than the standard model. Aesthetically, the Trophy gets a special paint job in matte white, which is contrasted by gloss-black treatment for the roof, spoiler, door handles and mirrors. It also gets model-specific 10-spoke diamond-cut 18-inch alloy wheels and a host of special badges and Trophy garnishes. It looks spectacular.
3. What drives it?
The trophy is powered by the same 1.6-litre 16-valve turbocharged motor of the standard RS but extensive work has been carried out to grow both the power and torque figures. A bigger turbo, larger diameter downpipe and a less restrictive catalytic converter has freed up 15kW and 20Nm for a total system output of 163kW and 260Nm (280Nm in overboost). The rev limit has also been increased from 6500 to 6800rpm. The shift time between gears is also 50% faster than before, compliments of some clever software algorithms. Performance figures are up as a result with the 0-100kph sprint taking just 6.6sec while top speed is 235kph.
4. Climbing in…
It’s all standard Clio in here but like the exterior it has also undergone a subtle makeover. Special stitching and plaques adorn the cabin while new Recaro seats feature an integrated headrest with F1 blade spoiler pattern echoed in the headrest. Other notable touches include red seat belts, matching stitching and carbonfibre-look air vent surrounds.
5. Any driving enjoyment to be had?
Of course. The Trophy employs a revised suspension setup which has resulted in a lowered ride height (20mm/10mm front/rear) thanks to shortened springs and aggressively tuned damper rates. The ride quality is naturally harder than the regular model but it helps with confidence and grip, giving the driver a better connection to the front end. Speaking of grip, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres were specially chosen for this application and provide better traction and adhesion. The all-new steering rack with quicker ratio means it’s more agile and darts freely from side to side while feedback through the wheel is richer in feel.
6. So is it practical?
Kind of – it is a hatchback. That said, its 5-door configuration does seat 5 adults in relative comfort. Well, that’s if those in the rear don’t mind the harder ride quality dished up by the torsion-beam rear. Bottom line: it’s a hot hatch and practicality is never going to feature high up on the list of those wanting such a machine.
7. Anything else I need to know?
Pricing and launch date for the Clio Trophy is yet to be confirmed for South Africa but Renault SA says it will bring the vehicle to our shores. Good news!
8. Quick verdict
The Clio RS Trophy is everything enthusiasts expected from the regular model. It’s fast, focused, as planted as you would expect and it feels special when seated at the helm. Furthermore its limited nature and glut of trick parts will attract it to many hot hatch acolytes. In fact I’m almost certain SA’s quota will be lapped up in record time. Is it the new super-mini hot hatch king? Quite possibly.
1.6-litre 16-valve turbo
6-speed dual-clutch transmission
0-100kph in 6.6s
Top speed 235kph