Aimed at those who want the looks, but not the engine performance – or expense – of the spectacular Renault Clio RS 200, a new model called the Renault Clio GT 120 will be introduced to Australia in April.

The numbers in the Clios’ names indicate their engine output in horsepower – the Europeans don’t use kilowatts, probably because hp gives bigger numbers than kW.

The drop in power from the 200 hp (147 kW) of the RS to 120 hp (90 kW) by the use of a 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine in the GT in place of the 1.6 turbo-petrol in the RS will obviously have a significant effect on performance.

It’s not all bad news, though, because the suspension has been worked over Renault Sport Technologies. The front springs and dampers are respectively 40 per cent and 30 per cent stiffer, while the bump stops have been adapted accordingly. Sounds nice, but we won’t have a chance to drive and comment on the new Clio for a couple of months. Stand by for our report immediately afterwards.

The Clio GT 120 uses a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Drivers can choose between a number of power steering calibrations and accelerator pedal and dual-clutch automatic transmission mappings. In ‘Sport’ mode, acceleration is more responsive and gearshifts are sharper.

Renault Clio GT 120’s body changes see it get a front bumper incorporating LED lights, a sportier rear bumper shape highlighting twin exhaust tailpipes, body-coloured side mouldings with dark metal inserts, dark metal door mirror housings, and extra-tinted rear glass.

There’s GT badging beneath the Renault logo at the front and rear. It rides on 17-inch alloy wheels.

Inside, the sport seats have specific upholstery with GT-branded headrests. The upper part of the dashboard features a speckled grey finish, as well as grey trim highlights. The two fixed gearshift paddles are mounted behind the leather-trimmed sports steering wheel.

Justin Hocevar, the managing director of Renault Australia, says, “We have been delighted by the successful launch of the award-winning Clio in Australia and we are confident the Clio GT will add a new and very appealing dimension to the range.

“The Megane range was the first in Australia to introduce the Renault Sport-created GT versions and they have already developed a loyal following. Australia is a strong market for sporty models and the new Clio GT is aimed at a customer looking for a slightly sportier driving experience than the standard Clio,” said Hocevar.

The new Renault Clio GT will go on sale in April 2014 and full pricing and specifications will be released at that time.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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