The 2007 Clio Renaultsport Mk III hot hatchback that was first revealed during the 2006 Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland will go on sale in a matter of weeks. The car will reach the dealerships by the end of the month.
Clearly based on the Clio RS Concept that was revealed last year, the new vehicle features a streamlined exterior with noticeably lower ground clearance and huge air outlets in its front fenders (although, to be frank, I am not sure whether the vents actually have holes in them to be able to let the air out). Larger and heavier than the previous iteration of the vehicle, but still delightfully compact to be easily parked even in Paris and backbone-shatteringly stiff to swallow even the tightest corners like marshmallows, the new car definitely deserves your attention even despite its Spartan interior and lack of that level of craftsmanship that always comes in the same package when we are talking about premium priced vehicles.
Sharing the same platform with the new Renault Modus, Nissan Note and Nissan Micra, the new generation of 2006 Renault Clio hatchbacks was presented a year ago in Frankfurt and went on sale almost immediately after the premiere.
Being bigger and heavier than the Clio II, the Clio III was however equipped with the same set of engines (tuned here and there to squeeze more fuel efficiency out of them) ranging from 1.2-liter to 1.8-liter inline-fours and there were numerous complaints about how underpowered the new compact hatch was.
This little wolf in a sheep’s cloth will try to solve the problem. Boasting a 2.0-liter engine that was, too, outsourced from the 2nd generation Clio Renaultsport, this new version sports a set of upgrades that help to get its power output increased to 197bhp making the tiny car a lot more fun to drive than its ahem normal siblings.
Being installed within the 1240 kg body the engine accelerates the Clio Renaultsport from 0 to 60mph in just 6.9 seconds and provides for top speed of about 134mph.
Well, truth be told, the acceleration time doesn’t exactly put the warmed-up hatch into the realm of super cars (or even sports cars), however you will clearly not be ashamed of driving it neither in heavy morning traffic on narrow streets of a European city, nor on winding roads in Pyrenees or Swiss Alps.
The engine is mated to an all-new close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox. Of course, there is also a number of purely cosmetic additions, including a set of larger tail pipes, an F1-style front air splitter, and a rear air diffuser.
The car will come to dealers by the end of March and will cost about €16,000. So, it’s not only fast but pretty cheap, too.
And this is a good thing considering the fact that the little car will have to fight its way through a crowd of such bitter rivals as the Seat Ibiza, BMW 1-Series, Mini Cooper S and, last but not least, Peugeot 207 Super 2000 (well, this one is not even street legal but I like the little bastard.)
The only problem with this Clio is that there is not enough space in it to put a spare tire so you will always have to carry an aerosol kit and pray that there is no broken glass and rusty nails on the road.
See also: 2007 Ford Focus Coupe-Cabriolet
2007 Clio Renaultsport Mk III technical specifications
Body Type: 2-door hatchback
Layout: front engine, FWD
Engine: 197 PS @ 7250 rpm, 215 Nm @ 5550 rpm, 2.0-liter, inline-4, 16-valve
Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
Top Speed: 134 mph (215 km/h)
0 – 62 mph: 6.9 seconds
Fuel Economy EPA combined cycle mpg (l/100 km): 26.4 (8.9)
Exterior Dimensions (L/W/H/WB): 3986 mm (157 in) / 1707 mm (67 in) / 1497 mm (59 in) / 2451 mm (96 in)
Ground clearance: N/A
Track (frt/rr): N/A / N/A
Curb to curb turning circle (feet): 36.4 (11.1 m)
Curb Weight: 1240 kg
Coefficient of Drag (Cd): N/A
Seating Capacity: 5 (2/2+1)
Cargo Volume (seats DO NOT fold): N/A
Payload (max w/ occupants and cargo): N/A
Towing Capacity (max): N/A
Direct Competitors: Seat Ibiza, BMW 1-Series, Mini Cooper S, Peugeot 207 Super 2000