Tag Archive | "Renaultsport"

Is This The Best Hot Hatch Ever?

Every once in a while, Motor Blogger – like a good boy who has eaten all his greens and done all his homework – is given a little treat. This is why, on an overcast day with the threat of rain on the horizon, Motor Blogger turned left out of a car park and onto a fast flowing ‘B’ road in a red car.

A pat on a paddle and a thrust on the throttle later and the world was going past the windows at the speed of light. Right behind was the permanent roar of a rather furious T-Rex. This then, is the introduction to the new Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC – arguably the best hot hatch on the planet.

Statistics are not really enough to describe this car. We can talk about 0-60mph times and top speed but for a drive as exhilarating as this you’ll forgive us if we wax poetic. The first thought is, ‘this is lunacy’, such is the sensation of power, but, as the car settles on the road, there’s a realisation that this rocket is just about as planted as it can get. There’s no drama; no sense of an imminent departure into the landscape – just driving perfection.

The traffic light sprint number of 6.7 seconds is good but not that different to the opposition but that doesn’t tell the whole story. This is because the experience of driving this Clio is a whole package. To be honest, it doesn’t quite have the raw appeal of its predecessor. This is a softer car. The seats are very comfortable and supportive, the ride excellent and not nearly as crashy as in earlier incarnations. On our roads this is a good thing.RS21 Is This The Best Hot Hatch Ever?

Some ultra-purists will say that it has lost something in its bid to become more of an all-rounder but for most drivers this car is absolutely the business. In auto mode or by using the paddles progress is swift – very swift – and secure. After driving for a while Motor Blogger looked down and saw a sport button. It’s got a sport button?! Right.

Select sport and the steering hefts up a bit and the otherwise unobtrusive traction control goes into a partial mode. Select race and it goes off altogether for full race effect. The trouble is – this is Little Britain and there is scant tolerance for shenanigans on the road. Best save ‘race’ for track days!

So; what have we got? Well, the Renaultsport Clio can pootle along in relaxed auto mode all day just by selecting drive although it is more involving to use the paddles of the efficient dual clutch gearbox. It is roomy, very comfortable with a high quality interior and a very tactile steering wheel. It is distinctive to look at with it‘s F1 style front blade, especially in liquid yellow, and cries out for the black gloss alloy option.

The truly good news is that if your maximum spend only extends to £20k this tremendous car remains within budget. A total winner from Renault.

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The Return Of A Legend – Possibly

As we head inexorably toward the dubious delights of a Christmas identical to every other Christmas in every way, it is nice to think back to balmy June when we here at Motor Blogger brought you news of something completely different – the Renault DeZir. This was a superb concept car shown at  the Paris Motor Show that harked back to the days of the iconic Renault Alpine A110 – arguably the most beautiful sports car ever. That’s it in the picture, leading the concept.

Thanks to the links between Caterham and Renault in Formula One, we might, just might, see a couple of new sports cars that hark back to that glorious past. Legendary designer Mike Gascoyne has joined the Caterham team and moves are afoot for the two companies to collaborate equally on this project.

The cars are likely to be built at Renault’s facility in Dieppe utilising the other company’s expertise. Anyone who has ever driven a two-seater built by Caterham will know what to expect. A spokesman has revealed details of the creation of a (modern) sports car with the DNA of the original Alpine A110.

The new company – officially called ‘Societe des Automobiles Alpine Caterham’ will first produce a sports car built on an alloy chassis, the design of which will hopefully hark back to those golden days. Apparently Caterham will design the soft top and Renault the coupé .

No news yet as to where the engine will sit – either at the back or amidships but ‘rear-drive’ is spoken of in hushed tones. Power will no doubt come from engines out of the Renaultsport stable, possibly a 1.6 litre turbo at some advanced state of tune. As you might expect, the companies remain tight-lipped about details, thus maintaining the mystery whilst issuing teasing morsels of information.

Fans of the Caterham Seven need have no fear. This isn’t a replacement for the stripped down road-racer. The all important price-point has been a subject of conjecture but the word is that, in these financial hard times, the car will be very competitive priced.

Isn’t it great that in a world of Euro-boxes there are still manufacturers who are willing to take a punt on something different. If the new car is priced at under forty thousand pounds, drives like a Seven and looks even a bit like the Alpine then the companies will sell every one they can make, recession notwithstanding. 2015/6 is spoken of – do an inventory of surplus body parts and start saving now.

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