Renault has announced an additional two hot hatches to flesh out its Australian line-up - the Clio Renault Sport 197 and the Megan Renault Sport dCi 175. Lets check out the the Sport 197 first.
Renault say that performance, passion and driving pleasure were all key priorities for Renault Sport engineers when they started work on the Clio Renault Sport 197 which has been designed by Renault Sport in association with Renault?s powertrain engineering department. The Clio Renault Sport 197?s normally aspirated, 1998cc, 4-cylinder, 16 valve engine is good for 145kW (197hp) at 7,250rpm and 215Nm of torque at 5,550rpm. In the old money, that's almost 100hp per litre.
The feisty four features continuously variable valve timing and is mated to a new six-speed manual gearbox, a combination that will power the Clio 197 from 0-100kmh in 6.9 seconds. Renault's Formula One involvement has filtered through to the Sport 197's 2.0-litre engine, which features F1 style optimised intake and exhaust port length and profiling, which Renault claim has "resulted in an evolution of inlet acoustics to a volumetric efficiency of over 100%". We'll have to take their word for that...
The design of both the combustion chamber and piston head has resulted in a particularly high compression ratio of 11.5:1, and the result is more power and less emissions. Renault Sport Technologies? engineers have also paid close attention to the 197's exhaust note and have created what they refer to as "a signature engine note appropriate to the 197?s pedigree".
Not one for doing half baked hot hatches, the Renault Sport engineers have thoroughly revised almost every aspect of the 197. The wheelbase is longer and wider than the Clio III, and the front suspension is a trick double-axis strut system featuring aluminium components, that is more precise and 7.5kgs lighter than a comparable MacPherson strut system. The 197's ride height is 15mm lower than the Clio III.
The 197 borrows the subframe used by the M?gane Renault Sport 225, which includes transverse strengthening for improved front-end rigidity. The front subframe bushes and rear suspension mountings have been stiffened, as have the upper front shock absorber mountings.
The exterior features wider front and rear wings, profiled side skirts and a semi-rigid under-bumper splitter which combines with extractor vents a rear diffuser and 17inch alloy wheels wrapped around the now requisite Brembo brake package.
The generously-dimensioned tyres (215/45) and 17-inch light alloy wheels which barely conceal the Brembo brake calipers and big discs that ensure powerful and durable stopping performance.
Inside the 197 it is all business, with aluminium pedals and a perforated-leather steering wheel with red centre-point stitching. The instruments feature white data on a black background for ease of visibility and the rev counter incorporates a gear-change indicator light, while the size of the figures increases as the needle gets closer to the red zone at 7,500rpm.
According to Renault, the 197?s seats have been designed to offer outstanding comfort combined with effective lateral support appropriate to the car?s dynamic abilities.
As with all Renault Sport Technologies developed models, the exclusive Renault Sport logo appears on the instrument backgrounds, door sills and front seats.
It wouldn't be a Renault if it wasn't safe and the 197 comes packing eight airbags, new generation height adjustable front headrests, integrated seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters, ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution and a disconnectable sports-tuned ESP stability control system.
Standard equipment on the Clio Renault Sport 197 includes: 17? Renault Sport alloy wheels, leather steering wheel with red stitched centre band (rake adjustable), electric windows, drilled aluminium pedals, multi-function trip computer, Cruise control (with speed limiter), 30W AM/FM radio with single CD 60/40 split folding rear seats.
Options include: Metallic paint ($800), Xenon lights ($1750), 4x40w AM/FM stereo with dash-mounted 6-CD stacker ($800), Panoramic electric glass sunroof ($1890)
This rather serious hot hatch can be all yours for just $36,490.00.
All Renault Sport models are covered by a 3 year/100,000km warranty.