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FCLegends #18 – Renaultsport Clio V6

FCLegends #18 – Renaultsport Clio V6

Posted by Glenn Rowswell on 14th May 2014

Renaultsport Clio V6
FCLegends #18 – Renaultsport Clio V6 (1999 – 2005)

Every now and then Renault create something a little bit bonkers. Cars such as the two-seater Renaultsport Spider that didn’t have a windscreen, and the original Renault 5 complete with ridiculously fat rear arches and a turbocharged engine in the boot. Both completely insane and neither had a direct competitor in the marketplace. And Renault did it again with the Clio V6; the only hot hatch with a big engine in the boot and just two seats.
Renaultsport Clio V6
Perhaps it’s no surprise then that the £26k Clio V6 was designed as a race car first and then turned into a road car? A standard Clio bodyshell was given custom subframes onto which a 3ltr 24v V6 engine from a Renault Laguna was fitted where the rear seats would normally be. The track was widened and the V6 ended up 171mm wider and 66mm lower than a standard Clio, with pumped up bodywork.
Renaultsport Clio V6
The race car had 285bhp and a sequential gearbox, but Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR), a British company involved in Formula One, were tasked with making it a functioning road car. The Laguna engine was tuned to a more conservative 230bhp and mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox.
Renaultsport Clio V6
The finished car weighed 300kg more than the already available track-focused Clio 172 Cup, but thanks to more power it performed favourably. The V6 hit 60mph in 6.2 seconds versus the 172 Cup’s 6.7sec, and the V6 had a higher top speed too (146mph compared to 138mph). Every Clio V6 has a numbered plaque between the seats to reflect the hand-built nature of each car.
Renaultsport Clio V6
In 2003 it was given a facelift. Power rose to 255bhp thanks to cylinder head and manifold revisions. The Phase 2 weighed more, but the extra power increased top speed to 153mph and reduced the dash to 60 to 5.9 seconds. The new car also addressed some of the scary handling issues of the original, although, with a big V6 over the rear axle, it still demands huge respect, especially in the wet.
Renaultsport Clio V6
Ultimately, a Clio V6 is an expensive, flawed car with shocking fuel economy, but all that can easily be forgiven with just one spirited drive. In our eyes, it’s still an automotive legend.
Renaultsport Clio V6
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