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Turbo boost for new Renault Clio RS

Paris Motor Show - Not only does the latest Renault Clio take a huge leap into the future as far as styling goes - it's also embracing new engine technology for the 'eco' age.

This could certainly be bad news for RenaultSport Clio loyalists that always appreciated the high-revving nature of their favourite hot hatch.

To put it all into perspective, the current Clio RS is powered by a revvy 2-litre normally aspirated petrol engine that pushes 147kW at 7100rpm and 215Nm at 5400rpm.

The new RenaultSport 200 that you see here embraces 'downsizing' technology by switching to a 1.6-litre turbopetrol engine. It has the same 147kW output as before, but only revs up to 6000rpm.

That said, it has improved in many other areas. For starters, it has 25Nm more twisting force than before, with 240Nm being available from just 1750rpm.

In the end, rev-heads will be trading off for improved comfort and economy.

To that end, it uses two litres less fuel for every 100km, which means a combined cycle economy figure of 6.2 l/100km.

No performance data has been released as yet, but Renault promises to keep us in the know closer to its international launch in early 2013. Our local contact says we'll see it in South Africa before the end of next year.

DUAL-CLUTCH GEARBOX

The 1600cc motor is mated to a brand new six-speed dual-clutch automated gearbox, which allows gear-shifts via steering wheel paddles. The 'box has three modes, including a 'race' function that claims to achieve 150-millisecond gear changes.

Another bonus for those who like to alter the driving experience is a special little button called 'RS Drive'. It basically alters the engine and gearbox mapping, stability control settings, steering assistance and throttle response in accordance with the mode (normal, sport or race) that you've selected.

The chassis set-up, however, has to be chosen when you buy the car, but customers still get the choice of two set-ups. The Sport chassis seeks the best balance between sportiness and comfort and the Cup chassis (which is 15 percent stiffer and 5mm lower) caters for track day enthusiasts.

FAKE ENGINE NOTE

However, the jury is still out on its R-Sound Effect feature that "simulates the noise of one of a range of iconic engines through the car's speakers, tuning it to the speed and acceleration of the car."

Its interior embraces the modern age in other respects too, with a multimedia system, touchscreen navigation, climate control and keyless entry and start.

On the outside, the Clio 4 RS makes a bold enough statement with its unique styling features, but what happened to the three-door body style?

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