and Clio Sport
dates : 7th November 2004
11th November 2004
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
The French company has proved itself equally adept at
both turbocharged and naturally aspirated Grand Prix
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Itís never intrusive, and heightens the enjoyment of
the car. And the chassis balanced through fast sweepers
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
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
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
The Clio comes with a seven-comma-one second nought-to-one-hundred,
and two-hundred-and-twenty-two kilometres-per-hour top
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
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
We were truly sorry to hand them back.
Four-cylinder, 1998 cc
- Power: 131 kW
@ 6 500rpm
- Torque: 200
Nm @ 5 250 rpm
5-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
- 0-100 km/h:7,1
- Top speed:
- Fuel consumption
8,1 litres/100 km
- Price: R209
Four-cylinder, 1 998 cc, turbocharged
- Power: 165 kW
@ 5 500 rpm
- Torque: 300
Nm @ 3 000 rpm
6-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
- 0-100 km/h:
- Top speed:
- Fuel consumption
(claimed): 8,8 litres/100 km
- Price: R265
Car Torque is