The pint-sized cherub is heir to a long line of scintillating hot-hatchbacks since the original Renault 5 Turbo. Since then, the luminaries included the R5 GT Turbo, Clio Williams and the 172/182 in the 2000s.
The R27 left us a little cold, because it seemed to gain more grip even as it lost that loose, slippy thrill that characterised the earlier cars, which were so eager to kink an inside wheel the moment an enthusiastic driver turned a wheel in anger.
The focus on straight-line performance and high levels of grip seems to detract from all the qualities that made the hot-hatches of yore so engaging.
We've never needed big horsepower to have fun, since such compact blue-collar warriors are about cheeky dynamics that can see-off all but the most committed sportscars on the winding roads.
In a segment where once-small cars have gone maxi, the Clio R.S. is an intriguing proposition for its daily usability, yet surprising turn of speed.
In this incarnation of the Clio R.S., it comes only in dual-clutch flavour, which really comes into its own when you’re wringing the turbo’d 1618cc engine to its redline.
The perky Clio is best suited for stretches of complex winding roads, like 99 bends for instance, where the straights aren’t quite long enough to turn things into a horsepower pissing contest and the series of corners requires some driving finesse at setting up so you’re able to carry a good pace through them.
The perky Clio R.S. surprises with its big bag of tricks, and demonstrates how fun things still can come in small packages!
Renault Clio R.S.
Engine: 1618cc, inline4, turbocharged
Transmission: 6spd EDC dual-clutch
Top speed: 230km/h
Fuel consumption: 6.3l/100km