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Renaultsport Clio 200 at Geneva motor show 2009

Published: 03 March 2009

The best-selling Renaultsport car is the Clio pocket rocket. As part of a wider facelift for the whole range, the Clio gets a cosmetic tidy-up and a few extra ponies and suspension tweaks to upgrade the 197 to the heady heights of 200.

It’s a small print facelift, if we’re being honest. For instance, the 2009 model has a track widened at both ends by around 50mm compared with the regular Clio and the anti-roll bar is – measure it, nerds – 1mm thicker. It’s pretty detailed stuff. But when we’re such fans of the existing Clio 197, it’s still enough to get us poking under the bonnet on Renault’s stand.

The Clio 200 will be sold with a regular chassis set-up that's slightly softer than the outgoing 197's or a stiffer, 7mm lower Cup option, with 36kg of weight cut out for a claimed class-leading power to weight ratio of 164bhp per tonne. That also spells fewer creature comforts.

Renaulsport’s tweaks at the Alpine factory in Dieppe end with Brembo front brakes, front splitters and a rear diffuser for the full motorsport feel, while the 2.0-litre engine is tuned for 197bhp. Yes, it’s 200ps on the Continent; how Renault must rue Brits’ obsession with brake horsepower... See the new Renaultsport Clio 200 in UK dealers in May 2009.

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By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet