I am in Lowestoft, and have arranged with an old friend to meet up and see what all the hype is with the New Clio RS!
On first inspection I wasn't too keen on these new Models having Four Doors, but pushed that out of my mind because I cannot see the Doors when I am inside and driving but it is a gripe nevertheless..
The interior looks rather cosy; not too dissimilar to previous models as most control switches and buttons remain identical. This isn't a problem as it works and is very easy to get along with. Our new feature is the Automatic Gearbox and Paddle Shifters which I am keep to try out during my Test Drive.
The Clio RS itself isn't too bad to look at. I saw a couple of these cars at Rent Race Car at the Nürburgring and asked to borrow one, but Season 2018 was nearly over and the Road conditions just weren't optimal.
I am a real fan of the interior and the Seats are 100% perfect for me - I could literally sit in this thing all day and not feel fatigued.
Going for a short Test Drive on the first day.. it didn't take long for me to adapt to the Gearbox and praise its Ferrari F430 'style' Gear Changes. The Gear Change is not the fastest but I don't think that matters at all, though some people will critique and call it a 'fault' if they were being really picky. It is not like a DSG Shift but is still great nevertheless.
Steering is nice; agile. Very 'point and shoot' like a true Hatchback should be. I think the Paddle Shifters maybe should have been placed on the Steering Wheel and not 'fixed' to the Hub - only really hard driving will prove whether it functions (or not) at speed. Being able to select gears in a Corner has proven life-saving for me on the Nordschleife a couple of times in the Golf GTi, because dropping from 5th to 4th got me past somebody who was losing control on one occasion! This is something that cannot be replicated with Manual Transmission and I am 100% standing by the Automatic Gearboxes with Paddle Shifters for fast driving and close-call situations where pressing the Clutch Pedal would more than likely end in death.
The RS Badge should indicate that this Vehicle is a cut above the rest. I only drove the Clio RS along the A12/A47 Dual Carriageway to Gorleston and back on the first day so wasn't able to experience too much of the Chassis and what it was about. On the second day I drove the B Roads through Blundeston and Somerleyton up to Haddiscoe then joined the A146 in Loddon. We drove around Norwich and used my favourite B Roads between Salhouse and Acle to get back. This was more than enough of a drive for me to really stretch its Legs and experience the RS at 100% throttle! Lets crack on with the Review :P
Damn.. This is tight! What a fucking chassis! This Car is way better than the Golf 7 GTi that I use daily and on Circuit. I hate to say this because it has four doors but this is probably the best FWD Car I have driven in a very long time.
Handling is ridiculously insane and a couple of times I said to Daniel (vehicle owner) that this could be seriously dangerous in the wrong hands. It does not lose grip, it does not fight my input in any way - it just works. I really want to drive one of these on the Nordschleife but am already under the impression it is a very capable machine which needs nothing by means of modification for me to have a good time driving it!
Four Door ting. Not my cup of tea but I suppose it isn't that ugly. I do love the Colour of the Car but really am not a fan of Four Door hatchbacks :-( Why didn't they just make a Three Door and leave the planet (and my mental health) alone? I really want normality and sadly the additional Doors do put me off of owning one :-(
Responsive, sprightly, but not enough power for me. This is the 200ps Model and I doubt the Trophy Model with 220ps will feel that much different. This Vehicle also visited for Remapping from myself so it wasn't long before we had the Car tuned for better Power and Torque, which is definitely needs!
Standard Torque is 240NM and Remapping this Engine will demonstrate 320NM-330NM maximum. I would estimate this Car to now run around 215ps-220ps and between 315NM-320NM Torques. Driving it once Tuned makes for a much better drive, and it does make me want one... :P
This has a modified Rear Box and does make a bit of a racket. That said, the pops and burble noises that it makes from factory are enhanced but when driving it isn't as offensive as initially expected. I was worried that my love for driving the Clio RS would turn into hatred, but the modified Exhaust made no serious interference and was actually fun when coming back into Lowestoft on the Dual Carriageway!
This was a seriously good Car for me to drive, despite my single gripe about the Rear Doors. I honestly didn't think about it at all while driving the Clio and this really is one of the BEST standard Cars I have driven in a very long time.
What a chassis! You don't need to throw it around it just works! The Car has plenty of grip and not once did I feel uncomfortable or worry that it was going to lose control or slide at all in Winter temperatures. The handling and feeling outweighs the additional Rear Doors so I actually have to forgive Renault and praise them for creating what is 100% the best factory produced FWD Sporty Hatchback that I have probably ever driven. Book a test drive, I think you will agree ;-)
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