While reading through the latest issue of Evo magazine there was a small yet interesting piece about the future of the Renaultsport Clio.
As emissions regulations have tightened their grip on the exhausts of our cars more and more manufacturers have switched to turbo technology to boost engine power, allowing them to cut engine sizes without losing performance. A few companies, such as Honda and Renaultsport, were hanging on to naturally aspirated engines in their performance models for as long as possible but the regulations have eventually caught up with them.
Last year the Civic Type R fell victim to the latest EU emissions regulations and the 2.0-litre VTEC engine, as well as the Type R itself, were dropped from Honda’s lineup. Now it looks like the Renaultsport Clio’s 2.0-litre engine is about to suffer the same fate but luckily for us Renault are hard at work on its replacement.
It looks like they are going to switch to a 1.6-litre turbo unit to replace the Clio’s naturally aspirated 200bhp 2.0-litre. While it’s a shame to see yet another hot hatch ditch NA it does mean that Renault can address one of the criticisms of the Clio, namely the lack of response in the lower reaches of the rev range. With a turbo-assisted swell of torque the response from the Clio will be much improved and I’m sure Renaultsport’s engineers will easily match the old car’s power output, despite the drop in engine size.
The introduction of a dual-clutch sequential gearbox is another first for the fast Clio. Details are scarce at this stage but fortunately this won’t be standard fit, unlike a number of the Clio’s competitors.
It’s sad to see another performance car downsizing and taking the turbo route but at least we won’t lose the fastest Clio, and for that we should be thankful.