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Renault Megane Sport
and Clio Sport

Broadcast dates : 7th November  2004
11th November 2004

Renault Sport is the official motorsport arm of Renault, producing winning Grand Prix engines and entire Formula One cars for racingís greatest show since the late 1970s.

The French company has proved itself equally adept at both turbocharged and naturally aspirated Grand Prix engines.

In todayís naturally-aspirated GP formula, Renault has been one of the few manufacturers to unsettle Ferrari, with Jarno Truli scoring an historic Monaco victory this year.

With Renault having firmly re-established its motorsport credentials, the timing of these two Renault Sport production models couldnít have been better.

The Renault Sport Clio uses a two-litre naturally-aspirated engine, while the Renault Sport Megane runs a turbocharged two-litre engine beneath the bonnet.

Both cars are very striking, the Clio perhaps a bit more understated in appearance, but shod with wonderful Gallic-looking alloy wheels and detail touches on the exterior to give it a squat stubby presence.

Presence is something the Renault Sport Megane certainly has in bucket-loads.

The three-door format with its raking rear window design in smoked glass is dramatic to say the least. And the low stance and subtle aero-aids add up to something really special.

The looks are backed up by real hardware. Both these cars have been given a through re-engineering by Renault Sport, the race-arm of Renault in evidence in every single aspect of the cars.

The interiors have been given as much attention as the exteriors, with sporty perforated Alcantara and leather-paneled seats in the Clio, and competition style buckets in the Megane.

The Clio has sports instrumentation and a couple of other touches such as satin-chrome embellishers on the dashboard, steering wheel and gearlever.

The Megane makes no concessions to being an out-and-out enthusiasts car. Two large analogue dials dominate the instrument cluster.

Leather covers the steering wheel rim which has Formula One styling influences. The seat belts are finished in a sporty contrasting colour, depending on the upholstery colour ordered.

The Renault Sport doorsill trim plates are a nice touch and both cars have attractive, rally-style, drilled-alloy pedal clusters.

But itís in the dynamic behavior of the cars where Renault Sportís special touch is most evident.

Both cars are firmly sprung, almost to competition levels, but avoid imparting a harsh ride. And the tautness of chassis in both is a delight over twisty mountain passes.

The Meganeís 225/40 low pro-profile tyres on eighteen-inch alloy wheels impart admirable grip.

With so much turbocharged power almost instantly on tap Ė a hundred-and-sixty-five kiloWatts at five-thousand-five-hundred revs and three-hundred Newton Metres of torque at three-thousand revs - there is a slight tug to the steering wheel as peak torque levels are approached.

Itís never intrusive, and heightens the enjoyment of the car. And the chassis balanced through fast sweepers is awesome.

Braking on both cars is superb, with powerful discs all round and pedal feel is exemplary.

If you do overdo things, there is traction control, electronic brake distribution and Brake Assist to sort out your departure angles.

Itís difficult to criticize these cars in any particular area.

Hendrik found the gearlever on the Clio a bit of a reach, and taller drivers may find the transmission tunnel intrusive, but thatís about it the way of criticism.

As for the turbocharged Megane, there is barely any discernible throttle lag at sea-level, and both engines rev with alacrity.

Both of the sporting Renaults are seriously quick little motorcars.

The Clio comes with a seven-comma-one second nought-to-one-hundred, and two-hundred-and-twenty-two kilometres-per-hour top speed.

The Megane offers up a blistering six-comma-five seconds nought to one hundred, and a two-hundred-and-thirty-six kilometres-per-hour top speed.

These cars are not about all hardcore figures. Perhaps most impressive of all is the balance thatís achieved between reasonable ride comfort and road-holding, and the overall impression of sheer quality in both cars.

There were no rattles or unseemly behavior to speak of during our time spent with this sporting duo.

The catch? There isnít one to speak of. They donít offer too much in the way of practicality, being three-door packages for the committed driving enthusiast.

But this is the real stuff from Renault, in much the same way as BMWís M division has worked its magic on the 3 Series and the 5 Series.

When you factor in the prices - just on R210 000 for the Renault Sport Clio and R265 000 for the Renault Sport Megane, you realize that youíre getting a bargain for such sporting pedigree.

This is probably why Renault sold the first hundred-and-fifty Renault Sport examples Ė a hundred Meganes and fifty Clios Ė in just fifteen days after launch.

We were truly sorry to hand them back.
Renault Sport Clio
  • Engine: Four-cylinder, 1998 cc
  • Power: 131 kW @ 6 500rpm
  • Torque: 200 Nm @ 5 250 rpm
  • Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h:7,1 seconds
  • Top speed: 222 km/h
  • Fuel consumption (claimed)
    8,1 litres/100 km
  • Price: R209 990
Renault Sport Megane
  • Engine: Four-cylinder, 1 998 cc, turbocharged
  • Power: 165 kW @ 5 500 rpm
  • Torque: 300 Nm @ 3 000 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 6,5 seconds
  • Top speed: 236 km/h
  • Fuel consumption (claimed): 8,8 litres/100 km
  • Price: R265 000

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