The weight of history
Held every two years, the Paris Motor Show is a key event for car manufacturers. For a French constructor celebrating its 100th anniversary, however, the Show takes on an altogether different dimension, as was the case for Renault in 1998.
The onerous challenge of marking the occasion and celebrating a century of success and know-how in style fell to three models : the restrained, latest-generation Twingo II, the Vel Satis luxury concept car and the Clio Renault Sport V6 24V, a project derived from the new Clio Renault Sport Trophy. Toned down but definitely not lacking in character, the V6-powered car delivers plenty of sporty fun, while offering a level of comfort, safety and features normally found in high-end cars.
A tribute to the success enjoyed by Renault Sport in the past, the Clio V6 shares more than a few similarities with another celebrated model designed by our engineers : the Renault 5 Turbo. Like the Renault 5 Turbo, it takes its cues from the most fashionable model of the day, with both sharing the same look thanks to their muscular, enlarged wings.
The two pocket rockets also boast the same layout. Just like its big sister, the Clio V6 is a rear-wheel-drive hot hatch powered by an engine positioned just behind the two front seats.
Two phases, one success story
Though designed by Renault Sport, the Clio V6 Phase 1 was developed and built by the English engineering firm TWR, at its Swedish factory. Launched in 2001, it has a lot to offer, namely 230 bhp, maximum torque of 300 Nm at 3,750 rpm, a six-speed manual gearbox and a total weight of 1,335 kg. Delivering impressive performance, it has a top speed of 235 kmh, a 0-100 kmh time of 6.4 seconds and a 1,000m standing start time of 26.5 seconds.
With 1,631 units selling in less than two years, the Clio V6 Phase 1 proved a hit with driving enthusiasts, who simply could not wait to get their hands on it, though some observers found it a little too unpredictable and potentially dangerous in the hands of inexperienced drivers.
In order to respond to expectations, Renault Sport brought production in-house to Dieppe in March 2003. Engine power was upped to 255 bhp, with drivers able to get the absolute most out of the car thanks to a shorter final drive gearbox and closer spacing of the internal gears. Boasting a top speed of 250 kmh, the Clio V6 Phase 2 registers 0-100 kmh and 1,000m standing start times that are respectively 0.6 and 1.2 seconds faster than its predecessor. However, the greatest source of satisfaction is the chassis. Thanks in the main to the new kinematics of the rear suspension and stiffer suspension all round, it combines stability under load, a progressive response to accelerator pedal actions and maximum control of body movement. Also meeting expectations in terms of precision and safety, the Clio V6 Phase 2 received the welcome it deserved.
Passion and pleasure
These are the two quintessential features of the car, especially the Phase 2 version. An image-building model of the range, the Clio V6 also symbolises Renault’s pursuit for passion. And in earning the affection of its admirers, it draws on both its performance and unmistakable style.
Its look, reminiscent of the R5 Turbo, has long aroused the passions of its faithful followers, while its design was modern for the time thanks to it adopting the same styling as the latest-generation Clio II Phase 2. It owes its more incisive front end to an all-new bumper, grille, hood and xenon double optic headlamps. A Renault Sport signature feature of the time, the double exhaust pipe lends a sporty allure to the rear, which is heightened by air intakes with wide square mesh grille covers. Last but not least, the Titanium Grey side scoops round off a unique and aggressive design.
In seeking to deliver maximum pleasure, the Clio V6 gives its owners a classic track-type driving experience, while also offering up the opportunity for drifting, which is de rigueur when it comes to rear-wheel-drive cars. So, there’s pleasure at the wheel and also in owning a car that can take on a truly distinctive look thanks Renault Sport’s customisation programme, which makes a wide range of specific colours, materials and features available to the car’s lucky owners. In total, 1,309 Clio V6 Phase 2s were built between 2003 and 2005.
The Clio V6 was destined to become a collector’s item and there can be no question it has achieved that status. Much sought after by enthusiasts thanks to its exclusive appeal, it is a source of great pride for Renault Sport and will surely continue to be so for many years to come.
|Phase 1||Phase 2|
|Engine||60-degree 2946cc 24-valve V6 L7X|
|Max. torque||300 Nm at 3750 rpm||300 Nm at 4650 rpm|
|Gearbox||PK6, six-speed manual|
|Weight||1335 kg||1400 kg|
|Top speed||235 km/h||245 km/h|
|0-100 km/h (s)||6.4||5.8|