Tag Archive | "Renault"

New Renault Clio RS 200 EDC Review [Video]

New Renault Clio RS 200 EDC Review [Video]

The new Renault Clio RS 200 is available in Europe and thus far it has received a number of mixed reactions from the public.

Aesthetically most agree that the car looks great however the point of departure for most has to do with the engine and the gearbox. The two aspects which gave rise to the cult status of the Renault Clio Renault Sport.

The engine is now turbocharged and the manual gearbox makes way for a paddle shit setup.

These two video’s give two different perspectives of the ability of the Renault Clio RS 200.

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Alpine Advisory Board Created to Monitor Upcoming Models

Alpine Advisory Board Created to Monitor Upcoming Models

Following the announcement of the reintroduction of the Alpine brand and the founding of Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham, an advisory board has been created.  The advisory board will be under the authority of Renault’s Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares (read our previous article here).

The board’s mission will be to advise and assist the senior management of both Renault and Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham regarding the brand’s positioning and to monitor the evolution of the brand’s upcoming model from its initial design until its launch.

The members of the advisory board have been selected with regard to their respective areas of expertise, personal knowledge and involvement in the history of the brand and its products.

The members of the Board are:

  • Jean-Charles Rédelé (Renault dealer and son of the brand’s founder, Jean Rédelé)
  • Jacques Cheinisse (former sales manager and sporting director of Alpine)
  • Jean-Pierre Limondin (former engineer with special responsibility for the production of Alpine cars under licence)
  • Alain Serpaggi (former rally driver and former Alpine test driver)
  • Bernard Darniche (one of the Alpine rally team’s famous ‘musketeers’ who helped win the inaugural World Rally Championship for Manufacturers in 1973)
  • Michèle Mouton (Alpine rally driver from 1974 until 1977)
  • Hervé Charbonneaux (collector of Alpines and driver of the brand’s cars in Historic races)
  • Olivier Lamirault (Renault dealer in Chartres, France, and heavily involved in the marketing of the Alpine adventure as a former Alpine, and a regular driver of Alpines in Historic races)
  • Chris Vissher (Renault dealer and Alpine and Renault Sport specialist in Rotterdam, Netherlands)
  • Tom Mautner (former Renault and Alpine dealer and collector, UK)

From Renault, the following will also sit on the advisory board, in addition to Carlos Tavares:

  • Philippe Klein (Executive Vice President, Corporate Planning, Product Planning & Programmes)
  • Christian Pouillaude (Brand Director, Renault)
  • Bernard Ollivier (CEO, Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham)
  • Jean-Jacques Delaruwière (representing Renault Communications, and responsible for the advisory board’s administration).

In principle, the board will meet twice a year and the first meeting will be held in a few weeks’ time.

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Renault Captur Urban Crossover Unveiled

Renault last week introduced the Renault Captur Urban Crossover, its first urban crossover in it’s model line-up. What’s interesting is that the unveiling was hot on the heels of the unveiling of the Peugeot 2008 Urban Crossover. It seems the “Urban Crossover” is currently one of the key buzzwords in the automotive sector.

The key differentiators according to the company are the styling, driving position, the cabin space and modular interior of an MPV, as well as the agility and driving enjoyment of a compact hatchback.

According to Benoît Bochard, Director, A/B-Segment Product Range, ““Renault Captur is a compact, unaggressive crossover which is particularly user-friendly. It benefits from Renault genes through and through…”

The styling borrows heavily on the new Renault Clio 4, which we have to admit have liked since it’s unveiling. But in true fact the styling follows on the styling cues first seen on the Renault Captur concept car revealed in February 2011 and it also rides on the same platform as the new Renault Clio 4.

The lines of Renault’s new crossover are unpretentious, yet the forward position of its steeply-raked windscreen emphasises its dynamic stance.

The combination of its compact dimensions, raised ground clearance, wide wheels and sill guards will enable it to take every aspect of everyday motoring in its stride. Renault Captur will be easy to customise and notably comes with an original two-tone colour scheme which produces an attractive contrast between the roof and pillars and the rest of the bodywork.

According to Renault the interior design gives it a rather spacious feel. A warm and relaxing feel is also enforced by the interior customisation options on offer which offer a choice of different colour motifs for the different trim features.

Renault Captur also boasts the appointments and comfort refinements expected of an MPV, such as a high-up driving position, large boot, modular interior and innovative stowage solutions.

The standard vehicle will have an equipment specification worthy of that of the next segment up, including hands-free entry, hill start assist and rear parking sensors. Also available will be the new, connected, in-dash Renault R-Link touchscreen multimedia tablet, plus a system that comprises six loudspeakers, Bluetooth® connectivity, audio-streaming and Arkamys® hi-fi sound.

The petrol and diesel engines available for the model benefit from the very latest Renault technologies and will return best-in-class fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, starting from as low as 96g/km.

Renault Captur will be manufactured at Renault’s Valladolid plant in Spain and will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

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Its Official Renault and Caterham Announce Partnership

Its Official Renault and Caterham Announce Partnership

Renault and Caterham today announced their partnership to design, develop and build future sports vehicles. The resulting company or joint venture, of which Caterham will own 50%, will be called The Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham and be headed by Bernard Ollivier.

The partnership will allow both companies to draw on each others expertise on the development of future models.

The future vehicles will be distinctive, differentiated, and carry the respective DNA of Alpine and Caterham Cars. The vehicles will be built at the Alpine plant in Dieppe, Normandy, in France.

Commenting on the partnership, Bernard Ollivier, CEO of Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham, said: “I’m very proud of the trust placed in me by both shareholders. The road map for each car is clear and simple: respect the DNA of both Alpine and Caterham Cars. With the passion and expertise of the staff dedicated to this project, we are sure of meeting this aim”.

The Alpine plant in Dieppe is currently dedicated to building the vehicles developed by Renault Sport Technologies, both production (Clio R.S.) and racing models.  Its core business is the assembly of sport vehicles, the assembly and sale of motorsports cars, and the sale of spare parts for motorsports vehicles, including at sports events.

The new partnership, The Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham, will be effective from January 2013.

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Renault Clio III To Live On Despite Introduction Of New Clio IV

Renault Clio III To Live On Despite Introduction Of New Clio IV

Renault has announced that the current Clio III will live on despite the introduction of the newer Clio IV. The third generation Renault Clio will be sold as the Clio Collection in Europe.

In Europe the Renault Clio Collection will be sold in two model variants, the Alizé or Business, and will also be available in a choice of two engines, the petrol 1.2L 16V 75 and the diesel dci 75.

The REnault Clio Collection Alize and Business variant equipment levels are more or less the same with the Business being the higher specified version. With the Business having and Tom Tom navigation unit, higher powered sound system (80W s opposed to 40W) with bluetooth connectivity, USB port and jack socket, Cruise control, fog lights, electric door mirrors, height adjustable driver seat and three headrests on the rear seats.

We have seen companies like VW and Ford take the previous generation Polo and Fiesta and rebadged them as the Vivo and Figo, respectively. However in these cases both manufacturers did not really have vehicles in their line-ups which would see them effectively compete in the entry level market. Thus the introduction of the Vivo and Figo made sense.

The presence of the Renault Twingo in Renault’s line-up locally, may make it a bit more of a tough call for Renault South Africa to introduce the Renault Clio collection locally, especially if there is a possibility that the Clio collection would cannibalise on sales of the Clio Twingo.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

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The New Renault Clio RS 200 Turbo Storms In

The New Renault Clio RS 200 Turbo Storms In

The premier of the Renault Clio RS 200 Turbo at the Paris Motor Show was eagerly awaited by fans and those who appreciate the Renault Sport badge.

If you have frequented our website over the last few weeks you will notice a number of articles on the new Renault Clio IV as well some more intriguing articles about the Renault Clio Gordini RS as well as the Renault Megane 265 Trophy.

We are by no means sponsored by Renault or for that fact die hard fans of Renault but we have to confess that we have been rather amused by the Renault Sport offering of late; perhaps a true testament to the hard work Renault has put in rebuilding its brand. We eagerly await having one of these units to drive.

Nonetheless let’s have a gander at the new Renault Clio RS 200 Turbo.

The Renault Clio RS 200 Turbo is powered by a 1.6 litre 147kW and 240Nm turbocharged engine mated to a six-speed Efficient Double Clutch (EDC) System. The use of the EDC transmission which enables gearchanges to be executed in just 150 milliseconds as well as other technological improvement will lead to a claimed 25% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to the outgoing Renault III Clio RS. It seems Renault is very keen to make waves in the small hot hatch segement.

Simply put and quoting Patrice Ratti Managing Director, Renault Sport Technologies, the  “New Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo proclaims loud and clear the values of Renault Sport: beautiful and fast, it has everything that’s needed to make it the benchmark car in the high-performance sports hatchback class – just like its predecessors. The introduction of a very high performance turbocharged engine, with plenty of torque at low revs and coupled to the EDC dual clutch transmission (Efficient Double Clutch) developed by Renault Sport engineers, results in a car that raises the performance driving experience to a new level. The expertise of Renault Sport Technologies is reinforced by long-term programmes in the most demanding types of motorsport, including racing and rallying. It is this experience which makes us so passionate about handling feedback, and you can feel this the moment you drive any of the Renault performance derivatives we have developed. We’re also proud to be producing the Renaultsport in Dieppe, home of Alpine, and delighted to be using the EDC gearbox in a Renaultsport version for the first time.”

Exterior features which distinguish the new Clio RS 200 Turbo from other Renault Clio derivatives include; the unique grille and spoiler, the F1-style front blade on the lower bumper which recalls Renault’s success in Formula One, the rear diffuser and spoiler which generate 80 per cent and 20 per cent extra downforce respectively, wide-set LED daytime running lights, sill extensions and 17-inch wheels, with 18- inch rims available as an option. All these elements combine to make it a genuine attention grabber. A dual-tailpipe exhaust system and a sporty sound signature round off this exclusive package.

The interior also receives a level of attention providing a sporting ambience with red being the dominant colour. A steering wheel flanked by two gearshift paddles (a first for Renault), a dedicated instrument pack and aluminium-capped pedals all spell performance and passion.. The Clio RS 200 Turbo comes fitted with bucket seats, with leather upholstery optional, which provide extra lateral.

Other than the standard offerings the new Clio RS 200 Turbo will be offered with a specific Renault Sport exterior personalisation programme.

The new Renault Clio RS 200 Turbo will be available with either the Sport chassis or the Cup Chassis, with the Cup Chassis heavily biased towards track day enthusiasts. The Cup Chassis will offer 15% mnore stiffness relative to the Sport Chassis and a ride height 5mm lower.

Another innovative feature on the Clio RS 200 Turbo include the R.S Drive button which when pressed modifies the engine and gearbox mapping, ESC settings, steering feeling and throttle pedal response. It works in three modes (‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’) and gives the new model an attractive, multi-dimensional sporty character.

The only feature we are not too sure about is the R-Sound Effect which simulates the engine noise of one of a range of iconic engines through the car’s speakers, tuning it to the speed and acceleration of the car. It feels a bit too gimmicky, a true enthusiast will we believe want to enjoy the aural experience from the engine with the sound system switched off.

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2013 Renault Sandero At Paris Motor Show

2013 Renault Sandero At Paris Motor Show

Renault will premier the revised 2013 Renault Sandero at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. At the moment we are still not sure when these revisions will be implemented for the South African Renault Sandero lineup.

Judging from the pictures it seems that the Renault Sandero will definitely look more appealing. The Exterior receives a much needed makeover with a revised front grille and from the side the Renault Sandero features more prominent wheel arches and indented flanks which according to Renault give the Sandero an impression of quality and strength.

In the interior a new dark charcoal or two-tone well-equipped, modern dashboard (depending on model and version) which features chrome instrument bevels and particularly functional, latest-generation controls.
In general according to Renault special attention has been paid to ensuring an immediate impression of quality which is reinforced by the materials selected for the interior and by the more careful fit-and-finish.

This revision should hep to ensure continuing sales of the Renault Sandero considering the ever increasing competition in this segment of the market.

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Renault  Megane 265 RS Trophy Vs Renault Clio Gordini

Renault Megane 265 RS Trophy Vs Renault Clio Gordini

Heads up,this is bound to get technical. What better way to round up the Renualt Sport arsenal than a head to head battle between the Clio Gordini vs the Megane 265RS Trophy. Both this cars are quite capable,quite agile and both come from the skunk works of Renault Sport. However there are attributes that both possess that seperate them from each other sort of like a Range Rover Evoque vs a Range Rover Sport. Both quite capable off-roaders, both quite similar yet so different in some aspects. In short what makes the Renault Clio RS Gordini and what makes the Renault Megane 265RS a Trophy?

Let’s start with the power plants in both of these cars. The Renault Gordini comes with a 1998cc naturally aspirated engine that revs all the way to 7100 before redlining while the 265RS Trophy comes with a 1998cc turbo charged engine that red-lines at 6100. One wonders if it is exactly the same heart only in different guises(talk about DNA). One on life support and the other breathing naturally. In the Gordini the engine delivers 147.5kW of power and 215Nm torques while the 265RS Trophy delivers 195kW of power and 360Nm of torque. The Gordini has a high compression ratio of 11.5:1 compared to the 265RS Trophy’s 8.5:1. In terms of performance the 0 – 100km/h times are 6.9s for the Gordini and 6.0s for the 265RS Trophy.

Coming to the exhaust note the Renault 265RS Trophy delivers a Volvo T5 beating deep thrum while the Gordini comes with a high pitched wail that am forever in love with. The exhaust tips on the Gordini are real while the 265RS Trophy’s is a fake.

Coming to the weight, here is where I am extremely baffled. The Gordini has a licencing mass of 1690kg* while the 265RS Trophy has a liscencing mass of 1345kg*??That probably explains the 0.9 second lead the 265RS Trophy has over the Gordini but still that’s quite a lot of extra weight for a tiny hatch. Also the 265RS Trophy has a lot more luggage space at 344 cc compared to the Gordini’s 288 cc.

Finally,lets compare the prices. The 265RS Trophy comes in at R409,900 while the Gordini at R280,000.So,both require quite deep pockets. The only reason one would get a Gordini apart from not having enough cash to splash out on the 265RS Trophy is the wonderful engine with its beautiful exhaust note. The 265RS Trophy comes out on top not because of its heftier price tag but because of the performance it offers for its price. One doesn’t need to splash out over a million rand to get serious performance. In the words of the Nissan marketing team “Performance is not for the privileged but those who want it the most.”

*values from Renault Sport Website.

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Renaul Megane RS 265 Trophy

Renaul Megane RS 265 Trophy

So, we’ve just come in from the fantastic drive in the Clio Gordini RS and what better way to top it off than to take the Megane RS 265 Trophy out. The Megane RS 265 Trophy uses the Megane RS 250 Cup chassis and has a similar setup with a liberated engine giving out a full 360Nm of torque and 195kW of power.

We are about to review a car laced with technology carried over from Formula One technology, a testament of Renaults prowess being the fact that Renault is the only car manufacturer to have four Formula One teams running their engines  this season. This car by the way has done the ring in 8 minutes and 8 seconds. That is a lot faster than a lot of other more powerful production cars.


Externally this car looks much more aggressive than the standard Renault Megane, looking like a big cat sitting on its haunches about to pounce. The visuals are absolutely striking. The first thing you notice is the rear diffuser with the trapezoidal exhaust tip mounted in the middle (think Lamborghini Murcielago Super Veloce only much smaller). I wonder if that is a tip they got from Lotus (Evora) seeing that they do work together in Formula One. However, the exhaust tip is a fake, unlike the Gordini, it’s not connected to the real exhaust. The car also has 19” STEEV black alloy rims with red piping which just makes this car look incredible.

Red front Brembo four pot calliper brakes come as standard and the rear brake callipers are colour coded to match. There is an F1 style front splitter for downforce at the front and behind the front wheel arches there are slits to help with brake cooling but unlike the Gordini they are smaller. There are daylight running lights (LED’s) mounted to the front bumper at the sides of the front splitter.

Moving to the interior it is a quality affair as I’ve come to expect ever since the Gordini. High quality plastics used for the dash and doors, and also a carbon fibre look-like mould on the doors and across the dash. The one prominent item in the RS 265 Trophy is the Renault Sports Monitor. Here it is much bigger than the Gordini and the background light is blue not that orange we are so familiar with in tiny hatch displays (think Fiat 500, Renault Twingo, etc). Apart from the usual data the monitor displays in the Gordini (throttle response, optimal gear change points, power, torque, g-graphs and things) there is an additional line for boost pressure.

You just have to admire the instrument cluster in the RS 265 Trophy. Taking centre stage in the instrument cluster and getting all the attention is the speedometer demarcated to 290kph, to the left the rev meter which redlines at 6100 revs and to the right a tiny display screen which tells you things like fuel consumption, range and other warning messages that the programmers at Renault thought appropriate to fit in.

The gear lever is also fantastic, topped with aluminium with the numbers etched on top and the knob itself adorned with leather with yellow stitching running down the side, but I think someone forgot that the stitching should be red to match the rims and front splitter. There are Recaro bucket seats fitted as standard and tailor made specifically for this car with yellow seat belts (am assuming to match the gear knob). I wish they were red though. The rear seats are made of leather as standard with brilliant stitching as well with three head rests for three people since this is a much wider car than the Gordini. The pedals are drilled aluminium racing pedals with a foot rest as standard.

The engine in this thing is a two litre four cylinder 16 valve delivering a Volkswagen Golf Gti beating 195kW of power@5500 revs and a staggering 360Nm of torque@3000 revs. That is 80Nm more than a standard Volkswagen Golf Gti. This might all be figures and interesting facts but when the rubber meets the road these kind of figures rocket the Megane from zero to 100km/h in 6.0s and defiant standing start time of 25.7s to 1000metres. That is serious performance with the car topping out at 250km/h. I’ve been in the outgoing Ford Focus ST and the Americans cannot beat the Formulae One technology inherent in the RS 265 Trophy. Only the Japanese can (Nissan GTR, absolutely street yet embarrasses everyone else at the ring having destroyed the Porsche 911 turbo in their wake). Driving is more than how many features come in as standard and if you’ve got BLUETOOTH connectivity. It is about enjoying the drive.


Yet again enter Merchand Notier Senior Chief Sales Executive at Renault Cape Town. He flips a switch on the right hand of the steering wheel and race mode is engaged. The Renault Sports Monitor ever so faithful displays a warning message about rules of driving and something of the sort. Just a thought, I wonder if the warranty becomes void if you turn off the stability programmes. The Renault Megane RS 265 Trophy comes equipped with a limited slip differentia (no Revo-Knuckle mumbo jumbo from Ford) and all sorts of safety programmes for the faint hearted (ESP+ASR+CSV+ABS) two of which I know the meaning off. The rest I’m assuming means the cars computer will sort out the problem if they need to.

They are things I love about the Megane that just makes it so different from other cars in its segment. There is that brilliant instrument cluster that makes it so different from the Volkswagen Golf’s and Ford Focuses out there. Its a bit like comparing an AMG Mercedes to a Porsche. The Mercedes has an instrument cluster adopted from the standard car but the Porsche’s just looks like it was meant for a race car. That’s the feeling I get from the Megane. It’s something special. A Volkswagen Golf Gti is just a talented golf with bits of performance wedged in here and there.

From the moment Merchand put his foot down the performance was effortlessly discernable from the Gordini. This car just wanted to be driven. Coming out of every stop light you could feel the traction control kicking in at high revs to prevent wheel spin and loss of car control. The grip that this car has is phenomenal. It hugs bends and goes with them the harder one accelerates. The buckets are very supportive and comfortable.

We slow down for a bit and Merchand lowers down the windows for me to hear the growl of the engine. Unfortunately am still in an affair with the Gordini’s sound so I don’t really show as much appreciation as I should.

As we head back to the dealership I test the sound system in the car which I have to admit is brilliant. It comes standard with BLUETOOTH, which is a great bonus because you can hook up your phone to the cars sound system.

The car has got loads of interior space and a really spacious boot. In fact I was able to fit in as big as I am and sort of have a short nap to compensate for all the excitement I had had in one morning.

Now to the price, for all this excitement you have to pay, wait for it, R409900. Of course now you can complain and insist how much better value for money the Volkswagen Golf Gti is but it so isn’t. This is a track ready car for serious drivers. So in my opinion that is a bargain. Plus everything comes as standard. Spec up a German car and one pays quite a bit. But, in all sincerity that pricing is steep for the hot hatch market, this is now the BMW 3 series segment pricewise, and why not? This is a very capable car. However for those who aren’t very happy with this the standard Megane RS comes in at about R359000.

Have a look at the footage below from EVO reviewing the Renault Megane RS 265 Trophy as well as the drag race between the Vauxhall Astra VXR ( Opel Astra OPC) and the Megane RS 265 Trophy.

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New Renault Clio Passes Euro NCAP With Flying Colours

New Renault Clio Passes Euro NCAP With Flying Colours

The new Renault Clio 4 recently achieved a five start Euro NCAP safety rating, receiving an  85 percent overall score. It’s important to not that it received top ratings for child protection, pedestrian protection and safety equipment. This is according to Renault is an impressive  improvement over its predecessor. You can read more on the Renault Clio here.

Below are two videos taken during the Euro NCAP  tests on the Renault Clio.

The first video shows footage taken during the Renault Clio crash test.


The second video shows footage taken during the Renault Clio Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system tests.

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