Less concept, more production: Renault Clio R.S. 16 mule spotted

Published: 15 September 2016

► New Renault Clio R.S. 16 spy shots
► Limited production run expected
► Features 271bhp turbo four-pot

You can’t go far wrong with a small car packing a mighty punch – and that message appears to have firmly taken hold at Renaultsport, judging by these spy shots.

That’s because, if this prototype is anything to go by, it appears that a production version of the 271bhp Clio R.S. 16 concept is in the works.

A 271bhp Clio? That sounds like great fun!

Or a quick and easy way to become best friends with Pirelli – because the R.S. 16 puts all of its 266lb ft through the front wheels. Regardless, given Renaultsport’s history, it’ll likely be quite the driver’s car. 

Tell me more about the concept.

It was built to celebrate 40 years of Renaultsport, and involved taking the relatively unloved RS Clio and making it instantly more interesting by fitting the powertrain from a Megane RS 275 Trophy-R.

2016 Renault Clio R.S. 16 prototype

So, out went the dual-clutch gearbox and 197bhp 1.6-litre turbo four-pot – and in came the 271bhp 2.0-litre engine and six-speed manual from the Megane. 

It’s not all brawn and zero finesse, though; Renaultsport also trimmed the kerb weight, reworked the suspension and fitted a whole host of other upgrades.

Is Renault really going to make the R.S. 16?

Rumour has it that a limited production run is being considered. Putting the R.S. 16 into production likely wouldn’t prove too difficult, due to the fact that most of the parts used are off-the-shelf items that are already approved and validated – helping keep costs and development requirements down. 

2016 Renault Clio R.S. 16 prototype

The appearance of this latest prototype, which has been seen regularly undergoing tests on public roads, means that there are at least three R.S. 16s in circulation now. It’s not that often you see so many resources, and so much time, expended on a ‘one-off concept’ that’s already been revealed...

Is there anything different about this prototype?

Unlike previous R.S. 16s we’ve seen, this one features a different exhaust system. It may be a more production-ready item, designed to meet various legal requirements. Just like the concept, however, this Clio doesn’t have any back seats.

2016 Renault Clio R.S. 16 prototype

Any word on when it might arrive?

None, at the moment. The project does appear quite some way down the line, though, so expect to find out more in due course.

If it does go into production, however, we expect only a few hundred to be made – and the indications so far are that it’ll likely cost in the region of a Golf GTI Clubsport S-rivalling £35k. 

Read more about the Renault Clio R.S. 16 concept

By Lewis Kingston

Formerly of this parish. Inveterate car buyer and seller; currently owner of a '68 Charger project car

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