Renault Clio Renaultsport 197
NEWS ON RADIO
1st March, 2006
The challenge faced by Renault Sport Technologies' engineers when first penning the new Clio Renaultsport 197 was to respect the original personality of Clio III while at the same time highlighting the newcomer's own dynamic qualities. The result is an outstanding car which puts the accent firmly on performance, passion and driving pleasure.
The new model will be available from mid-year in Europe and, hopefully, by the end of the year in Australia.
The new Clio Renaultsport 197 stands out as a worthy successor to Clio Renaultsport 182 and features a groundbreaking first in its segment in the form of a rear air diffuser which uses technology derived directly from Formula 1. In association with the extractor vents in the front wings, it ensures excellent aerodynamic performance.
Sportier than ever, the new Clio Renaultsport 197 is powered by an evolution of the normally-aspirated 2.0 16V engine, the power of which has been increased to 197 hp (hence the name '197'). This is equivalent to near 100 hp/litre, making it the highest specific power output of its category. This has been achieved partly thanks to an increase in its volumetric efficiency which has not only improved engine power but has also taken torque to a best-in-class 215 Nm at 5,550rpm.
Acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h requires a mere 6.9 seconds, while the kilometre standing start is covered in just 27.5 seconds.
Coupled with the new six-speed gearbox, this powerful, responsive engine offers first-class sports performance and driving pleasure.
The double-axis strut system guarantees rigorously precise handling.
The new Clio Renaultsport 197 is built at Renault's Dieppe plant, which specialises in the production of the brand's sports models.
The new Clio Renaultsport 197 reveals its sports heritage both inside and out. The exterior design features specific body parts which accentuate Clio III's racy, muscular styling.
Designed for performance
Clio III's distinctive, original lines have been further enhanced by the use of more athletic curves, while the new Clio Renaultsport 197's specific side design exudes extra power and energy. The wider front and rear wings, lowered stance, profiled side skirts and semi-rigid under-bumper splitter combine with the extractor vents and diffuser to assert the new car's advanced aerodynamic engineering and sports heritage.
The new Clio Renaultsport 197 comes with generously-dimensioned tyres (215/45) and 17-inch light alloy wheels which barely conceal the Brembo brake callipers and big discs that ensure powerful and durable stopping performance.
Developed jointly by Renault Sport Technologies and Renault's Powertrain Engineering Department, the powerful, normally-aspirated 2.0 16V calls on wide, bumper-mounted air intakes for additional engine cooling.
The front and rear bumpers, side protective mouldings and exterior mirrors are all body-coloured, while the door handles are in satin-finish chrome.
The new Clio Renaultsport 197 will be available (in Europe) in five exclusive colours: two non-metallic colours (Toro Red and Dynamo Blue), plus three metallic colours (Monako Blue, Deep Black and Makaha Grey).
New Clio Renaultsport features specific bodywork, including larger front wings (+42mm) designed to house the wider track and generously-dimensioned tyres, while the additional 28mm left and right at the rear have prompted a specific side design.
The standard Clio III floor – which incorporates a well for the spare wheel – has been replaced by a flat panel designed to free up space for the exhaust silencer and twin-rear tailpipes. Meanwhile, the spare wheel has been replaced by two tyre repair aerosols.
New Clio Renaultsport's interior trim echoes the car's exterior styling. The "drive it" spirit is immediately apparent in details such as the aluminium pedals, footrest* and perforated-leather steering wheel with red centre-point stitching. For added comfort and efficiency, the design of the steering wheel itself assists perfect grip for the hands.
Designed and positioned for optimal clarity, the instruments feature white data on a black background. The rev counter incorporates a gear-change indicator light, while the size of the figures increases as the needle gets closer to the red zone at 7,500rpm.
The overriding dark charcoal colour scheme is offset by the chrome-zinc centre console and dashboard inserts which echo technology and sports performance.
Specially designed Renaultsport seats ensure outstanding comfort and effective lateral support which enable the driver to feel totally at one with his or her machine, while the metallic grey seatbelts are in perfect harmony with the new dark charcoal and metallic black "Entresol" upholstery.
As with all Renault Sport Technologies-developed models, the exclusive "Renaultsport" logo appears on the instrument backgrounds, on the door sill and on the front seats. "Renaultsport" badging is also visible on the outside; on the hatch and on the satin-finish chrome side moulding inserts.
* Left-hand drive vehicles only.
Recaro bucket seats
From the summer of 2006, the new Clio Renaultsport 197 will be available with optional bucket seats designed and developed in association with world-renowned Recaro. Perfectly in keeping with the vehicle's sporty interior ambience, they are trimmed with "Entresol" upholstery in harmony with the rear bench seat. In addition to housing lateral airbags, these seats feature a rigid, polyamide and fibreglass-injected shell for the sort of all-enveloping experience normally associated with competition driving. The seatbelt slots and built-in headrest add the final, distinctive sports touch.
Formula 1-derived aerodynamics
The aerodynamics of the new Clio Renaultsport 197 have benefited from extensive development work. In addition to front wing extractor vents, the new car features a groundbreaking first for this type of vehicle in the form of a rear air diffuser.
Air diffuser: racing technology
Both visually and technologically, the new Clio Renaultsport 197's most striking technological innovation lies in the design of the rear bumper which incorporates an air diffuser. Derived from Formula 1, this feature has only ever previously been seen on range-topping, high-priced sports cars.
The diffuser's purpose is to prevent rear-end lift and maintain stability at high speed by channelling air flow in such a way to increase the suction effect. The radius of the diffuser's curve is engineered to developed a zone of low pressure beneath the car.
The downforce generated by the diffuser means there is no need for a rear spoiler to counter the phenomenon of lift. For optimal stability, the system reduces lift by a factor of three and produces the equivalent of 40 kg of rear downforce at very high speeds without (on track) detracting from the car's carefully honed aerodynamics designed to achieve a low CdA.
To maximise the diffuser’s effectiveness, the flush-fitted dual exhausts are housed within the outer channels. Positioned in this way, they do not interfere with the efficiency of the aerodynamics.
Extractor vents for optimised performance
The front wing extractor vents also have an aerodynamic function by reducing turbulence to optimise the car's drag coefficient. The extractor vents facilitate both the flow and hot air from under the bonnet. At the same time, the vents direct air flow along the sides of the car to further enhance performance.
The new Clio Renaultsport 197 also comes with a specific bumper and grille, as well as a semi-rigid aerodynamic splitter which restricts the amount of air that passes underneath the car.
Diffusers in Formula 1
The diffuser is one of the most significant features of modern Formula 1 aerodynamics technology and exploits the air that passes underneath the car to draw the chassis to the ground. The diffuser is one of the most significant features of modern Formula 1 aerodynamics technology and exploits the speed of the air that passes underneath the car to draw the chassis to the ground. Airflow passing underneath the car at the front is channeled by a flat bottom to the diffuser where the air is accelerated before being forced out at the rear, thereby developing a zone of low pressure which "sucks" the car to the ground. Like a conventional wing, the diffuser generates significant vertical downforce but without impeding the car’s forward movement.
Renault Sport Technologies' engineers have exploited the same principle to ensure that the new Clio Renaultsport 197 stays "glued" to the road.
A high-performance chassis
The Clio Renaultsport 197's exacting, balanced sports handling combines driving pleasure at speed with advanced safety. The dimensions of its chassis have been modified compared with those of Clio III, including a longer wheelbase and wider front and rear tracks. The new Renault Clio Sport also comes with a double-axis strut system and aluminium components for greater driving precision.
For enhanced stability, the wheelbase of the new Clio Renaultsport 197 has been extended by 10mm compared with Clio III to 2,585mm. At the same time, grip and cornering performance have been optimised thanks to the new car's wider front and rear track which have been extended by 48 and 50mm respectively in comparison with Clio III.
Innovative front suspension, strengthened rear suspension
The new Clio Renaultsport comes with a double-axis strut system, a technology which guarantees precision and optimal traction in all situations. Driving pleasure is further enhanced by the car’s frontal grip and an absence of torque-steer, whether in the middle of a tight turn or when travelling in a straight line.
The new Clio Renaultsport 197 benefits from a new type of double-axis strut system which comprises aluminium components for reduced weight compared to the standard Clio III which was MacPherson strut architecture.
Derived from Clio III, the programmed deflection, torsion beam rear suspension has been strengthened to match the potential of the double-axis strut system and to ensure precise, immediate response when turning into corners. The stiffness of the sports version's rear suspension has been uprated by 25% thanks to a 30mm anti-roll bar. The new concept, single-piece stub axles feature reinforced bearings and have been lengthened in order to widen the rear track. Their diameter has also been increased by 5mm to 30mm (instead of 25mm in the case of Clio III).
Glued to the road
The suspension of the Clio Renaultsport 197 ensures a first-class compromise between efficiency and filtering performance. Front and rear shock absorbers feature specific valving developed to optimise body control.
Meanwhile, the stiffness of the front and rear springs and the use of polyurethane bump stops favour positive car control on very rough roads.
The subframe is the same as that used for Mégane Renaultsport 225 and includes transverse strengthening for improved front-end rigidity. The front subframe bushes and rear suspension mountings are also stiffer, as are the upper front shock absorber mountings.
All these features combine to favour feedback to the driver as well as a heightened sense of precision at the wheel. The calibration parameters of the electric power steering are specific to the new Clio Renaultsport, while the model's Continental Sport Contact 3 tyres (215/45 R17) also contribute to the suspension's excellent directional stability.
Derived from that of Mégane Renaultsport 225, the new Clio Renaultsport 197's braking system ensures effective, durable stopping power, plus progressive, easy-to-dose pedal travel. The system comprises 312mm-diameter cross-drilled front discs with Brembo four-pot callipers and 300mm diameter discs at the rear.
Double-axis strut system
The double-axis strut system ensures a significant reduction in the effects of transverse, engine torque-induced forces as the car accelerates under cornering. The steering axis of the new Clio Renaultsport's front suspension is totally independent of the damping system, in contrast to a MacPherson-type set-up in which the steering axis is linked to the lower arm.
The rotation of the wheel around its axis is ensured by a pivoting link between the hub-carrier and the aluminium pivot carrier. The stub axle offset (the distance between the centre of the wheel and the intersection between its rotational and steering axes) has consequently been reduced to 34mm compared with 48mm in the case of New Clio's MacPherson-type suspension. The pivot carrier is located on the lower aluminium rectangular lower arm. It is prevented from rotating by a rod which links the two components.
A specific power output of near 100 hp/litre
The quest for performance which was a hallmark of the new Clio Renaultsport 197's development means the normally-aspirated, Renault Sport Technologies-designed 2.0 16V engine is able to realise its full potential. Coupled with a six-speed gearbox, this responsive (215 Nm at 5,550rpm) and powerful (197 hp at 7,250rpm) powerplant provides top-class sports performance and driving pleasure.
A sporty, responsive normally-aspirated engine
The Clio Renaultsport 197 is powered by the F4R RS normally-aspirated 2.0 16V engine which delivers 197 hp at 7,250rpm and maximum torque of 215 Nm at 5,550rpm. Based on the engine which forged the reputation of Clio Renaultsport 182 2.0 16V, it boasts a specific power output of near 100 hp per litre which ensures exceptional performance for the Clio Renaultsport 197 in the hot hatch segment. The normally-aspirated engine combines performance, dynamism, flexibility, immediate response and excellent re-acceleration from all engine speeds. It is also easier to adapt for competition use in derivatives such as the Clio Group N and Clio Cup one-make race versions.
At low revs and at engine speeds below 5,000rpm, the new Clio Renaultsport 197 ensures a level of response and driving pleasure adapted to day-to-day motoring. At higher revs (more than 5,000 rpm), the performance and "bark" of the Clio Renaultsport 197's engine are unleashed to reveal the car's true sports heritage.
The uprated power and torque figures stem from a number of modifications and optimisations to the powertrain:
- as in Formula 1, the inlet acoustics have evolved to take volumetric efficiency to more than 100% thanks to the optimisation of the sections and lengths of the intake tracts.
- to permit the intake of additional air and to optimise gas flow, extensive work has also gone into the valve seat aerodynamics. The calibration of the camshaft has also been modified with a view to producing a longer and bigger aperture of the valves (11.5 mm of valve lift instead of an average 9 mm).
- the design of the combustion chamber and the piston has resulted in a high compression ratio of 11.5:1 for enhanced combustion and performance, plus lower emissions.
- continuously variable valve timing improves performance at all engine speeds by varying the camshaft angle to optimise the opening and closing of the valves.
Driving pleasure and acoustic comfort
Renault Sport Technologies' engineers have sought to achieve a signature engine sound in keeping with the new Clio Renaultsport 197's sports pedigree. From a discreet pitch at low revs, the engine begins to give a glimpse of its promise at mid engine speeds before producing a hallmark bark when pushed to the limit.
Meanwhile, the reinforced subframe and specific floor minimise boom thanks to special surface soundproofing treatment that reduces the radiation of noise from the exhaust. The 3Y-type exhaust manifold also offers an excellent compromise between acoustic performance, power and low emissions.
To prevent boom at certain engine speeds, the crankshaft has evolved too. Made from steel, it features eight counterweights which improve its rigidity and balance in a bid to reduce parasitic vibrations and friction in the camshafts.
A six-speed gearbox engineered for performance
The new Clio Renaultsport 197 comes with an evolution of the TL4 six-speed gearbox, the first Alliance-developed manual transmission which is capable of handling up to 240 Nm (24.5mkg). This precision, close-ratio gearbox favours acceleration from all intermediate engine speeds.
Acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h requires a mere 6.9 seconds, while the kilometre standing start is covered in just 27.5 seconds.
Driving pleasure in complete safety
Just like Clio III, which obtained a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating, the focus has also very much been on excellence in terms of safety in the case of the new Clio Renaultsport 197. The new car has profited from Renault's acclaimed expertise in the domain to emerge as a passive safety benchmark in the hot hatch segment. The new Clio Renaultsport features Renault's third-generation System for Restraint and Protection which guarantees optimal protection for all occupants wherever they are sitting in the car.
Active safety: a development priority
Like design and sports performance, active safety played a central role in the development of the Clio Renaultsport 197. In addition to featuring the latest-evolution driver aids, it is equipped as standard with Generation 8 Bosch ABS complete with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). Recognising that the Clio Renaultsport 197 will be driven enthusiastically – possibly on circuit track days – Brake Assist has been removed.
The Clio Renaultsport 197 also comes with ESP which has been reprogrammed to higher limits and can be disconnected. Its operation is adapted to the sort of dynamic driving style associated with this type of car, while at the same time contributing to a high degree of active safety. The ESP system comes complete with ASR traction control to assist starting and accelerating when grip is at a premium.
Passive safety: uncompromising protection for all passengers
The Clio Renaultsport 197 features the third-generation Renault System for Restraint and Protection which guarantees optimal protection for all occupants wherever they are sitting. The extremely rigid cabin forms an indeformable structure which acts as a survival cell for passengers and combats against the intrusion of front-end components. These, in turn, are designed to stack up under impact.
Both front seatbelts of the new Clio Renaultsport are equipped with pyrotechnic pretensioners for optimal body restraint under impact, plus built-in load limiters calibrated at 400daN for enhanced thorax protection. To protect the pelvic region and to combat submarining, the front seat cushions come with built-in anti-submarining airbags. According to country, the new Clio Renaultsport 197 is equipped with up to eight airbags as standard: two controlled-deflation adaptive front airbags, four lateral airbags and two anti-submarining airbags (fitted in the base of the front seats).
In the event of side impact, and in addition to the lateral airbags (thorax airbags built into the front seats, plus curtain airbags to protect the heads of front and rear passengers), the Clio Renaultsport 197 comes with spacers and padding in the door panels. It also features an aluminium bar (a first inaugurated on Clio III) that adapts the load exerted upon impact to ensure that occupants are afforded the most effective protection possible.
In the event of rear impact, the Clio Renaultsport 197 is equipped with rear impact energy-absorbing front seats and headrestraints. This new technology marks a significant breakthrough when it comes to protecting the neck against the effects of whiplash. When adjusting its height, it's the headrestraint itself which slides inside the seat back and not the rods. Since the latter no longer form a rigid element inside the seatback, the occupant's back can, under impact, push further back into the seat until his or her head comes into contact with the headrestraint. The rear bench seat comes with three integrated headrestraints, while the seat itself and its anchorage points are reinforced with a view to limiting reclining of the seat back under impact.
A hot hatch success story
The launch of the first Clio Renaultsport 172 2.0 16V in 1999 signalled Renault's return to the hot hatch market after the earlier successes of Clio Williams and Renaultsport Spider, both of which were produced in Dieppe.
The objective of Clio Renaultsport 197 is to serve as a flagship for the Clio range.
Based on Clio III, the Clio Renaultsport 197 will seek to continue the Renaultsport brand's success in the Clio range, while at the same time broadening the Renault line's worldwide appeal.
Renault has invested €29 million in the development of the Clio Renaultsport 197 which uses the same Alliance B platform as Clio III.
A single production site
The Renaultsport factory in Dieppe is the only site where Renaultsport models are produced. This plant, which has an annual production capacity of 30,000 cars, already assembles Mégane Renaultsport 225 and will soon begin production of the Clio Renaultsport 197.
In keeping with the system employed for previous Clio Renaultsport models, the three-door bodies will be built at Flins and then transported to the Renault Sport factory in Dieppe. Ten thousand Clio bodies from Flins will be sent to Dieppe annually.
An uncontested success
The model has proved particularly popular in three countries, namely the United Kingdom, France and Switzerland which accounted for 72% of Clio Renaultsport sales between 1999 and the end of November 2005. With 13,011 cars registered, the United Kingdom alone accounts for at least 35% of total sales.
The new Clio Renaultsport is expected to broaden the Clio range's target market, succeed in a higher number of countries and also showcase Renault's technological expertise in the domain of sports models.
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