By: IOL Motoring Staff

OK, let's make this quick - no time to chat, I just wanna get out of the office and drive this thing!

We're talking about the Renault Clio RS 200 EDC, released in South Africa this week in two flavours - Lux and Cup - each with a 1.6-litre turbopetrol four rated at 147kW and 240Nm, for which La Regie is claiming 0-100 in 6.7 seconds and 230km/h flat out.

For the record, Renault also quotes 6.3 litres per 100km and 144g/km of CO² but, since every carmaker on the planet is at pains to point out that those figures are purely academic and have nothing to do with real-world driving, we'll refrain from comment.

Instead we'll tell you that the hottest Clio yet comes with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission and paddle shifters on the steering column.

A WHOLE LOT MORE FUN

Now, whether you like flappy paddles or not, bear in mind that they make possible such things as RS drive (standard on both variants) offering a choice of Normal, Sport or Race throttle and shift mappings at the turn of a switch, and launch control (the first we've seen on a hot hatch) that can make the Stoplight Grand Prix a whole lot more fun.

Then there's the electronic differential that tackles the twin problems of torque steer when accelerating and understeer in corners - not by suddenly cutting the available torque (which makes a hot hatch very uncool) or by braking the inside wheel, which just slows it down, but by diverting more torque to the right front wheel under acceleration and to the outside wheel when you hoof it at the apex of a corner - helping the RS 200 go exactly where you point it.

F1-DERIVED STYLING CUES

The styling of the RS 200 Clio's aero kit is derived from Formula One because it does the same job, especially the front splitter, while the rear diffuser and the tailgate spoiler were designed as a unit; in fact, the diffuser generates 80 percent of the rear down-force.

Inside, the signature colour is red - red seat belts, red needles on special RS grey instrument faces, red top-stitching, red air-vent surrounds and red door-panel beading.

A black lacquer centre stack houses the chrome-trimmed multimedia unit and the Renault Sport bucket seats (leather optional) have been re-shaped for even more lateral support.

OK, SO WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

Not a lot. The Lux comes with the 'Sport' suspension package and 17” grey-anodised alloys shod with Goodyear Eagle F1 205/45's, while the Cup has the slightly lower and considerably firmer Cup chassis set-up, extra-dark tinted quarter glass and rear window, red brake callipers and 18” gloss black rims with Dunlop 205/40 low-profile radials.

The signature Renault Sport metallic yellow paint is also only available on the Cup, as are a number of high-tech options, so you'll need to go that route if you want extras such as R-Link connected multimedia on a 180mm touchscreen with built-in TomTom satnav, Bluetooth and audio ports, or RS Monitor - atill the sexiest onboard telemetry system on the market.

The RS Monitor's customisable display uses dials, histograms and graphics for real-time readouts of torque, power, coolant temperature, intake air temperature, turbo pressure, throttle position, brake pressure, steering wheel angle, engine revs, transmission oil temperature, clutch temperature and torque at the wheels

HOW MUCH?

Clio Renault Sport 200 EDC Lux - R294 900

Clio Renault Sport 200 EDC Cup - R314 900

Included are a five-year or 150 000 mechanical warranty, and a three-year or 30 000km service plan, with services every 10 000km.

That's it - I'm outta here!

ALTERNATIVES

Ford Fiesta ST (134kW/290Nm) - R259 900

Opel Corsa OPC (141kW/266Nm) - R288 300

Peugeot 208 GTI (147kW/275Nm) - R279 900

VW Polo GTI DSG (132kW/250Nm) - R293 900