The Renault Sport Clio V6 is one of a long line of sporting Renault designs based on existing economy cars by the Régie. Although clearly the Clio V6 is a descendant of the famed Renault R5 Turbo II, its closest ancestor was the Renault Sport Spider.
The formula of Renault has been relatively simple: take a production economy car platform, combine with an existing engine from another model, shuffle the bits around, and make a high-performance sports car capable of carrying on the company’s racing heritage. The Clio V6 does just that; based on the “regular” Clio (FWD, 100 HP 4 cyl.), the Clio V6 ups the ante with a Renault Laguna-derived V6 making 227 HP, all sent to the rear wheels! Like the R5 Turbo II and the Spider before it, the V6 was also the star of a single-marque racing series that often shared the bill with Formula 1 events in Europe.
As with the R5, making the Clio V6 required extensive modifications to the Clio chassis. Most Renault Sport cars are built at the Renault facility in Dieppe, but the Phase I Clio V6 was an exception. Production was contracted out to race car fabricator TWR (Tom Walkinshaw Racing) in Great Britain. TWR sent “bodies in white” to be modified in Finland, and assembled the finished cars at a disused Volvo convertible factory in Sweden. The wheelbase was stretched, the tracks widened, and of course, the engine fitted amidships. Special bodywork was also fitted, with cooling ducts giving away the sporting pretensions of the car. (The later Phase II cars - a bit more powerful, and a bit less “raw”, were built in Dieppe.)
Neither comfortable nor practical, the motoring press termed the car a Jekyll and Hyde experience – on dry roads it was a rewarding drive in the hands of a skilled driver; in the wet, the combination of high power and short wheelbase, along with extraordinarily slow steering, made the car a real handful!. 660 pounds heavier than the donor Clio, the V6 has an enormous 42 foot turning circle , the fuel tank allows a range of < 300 miles, and the pitifully small trunk holds only 2.2 cu. ft. Not a practical family hatchback any more!
Manufacturer: Régie Nationale des Usines Renault
Country of Origin: France (designed England, modified Finland, assembled Sweden)
Drivetrain Configuration: Mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine: 2946 cc V6, water cooled, 16V, 227 HP
Transmission: 6 speed manual
Top Speed: 146 mph
Years of Production: 2001-2003 (Phase II 2003-2005)
Number Produced: Fewer than 5000; only 256 RHD models such as this one
Original Cost: $34,000.00
Designer: Axle Braun