ROAD TEST: Sporty Renault Clio GT-Line has real style

Renault Clio
Renault Clio
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The Renault Clio GT-Line offers many of the styling cues of the racy Renaultsport cars teamed with a rather more sensible engine.

Sheep in wolf’s clothing? Not a bit of it. The GT-Line gets the sport chassis and R.S. Drive controller, so it’s far more than just a cosmetic job.

There’s quite a bit of Dieppe in the DNA of this the five-door Clio GT-Line TCe 120 EDC. Renaultsport has tuned the chassis such that there’s much the same feel as the pocket rocket Clio Renaultsport 200 EDC. Yes, the EDC in both cars’ nomenclature stands for Efficient Dual Clutch. Poking out from behind the steering wheel in this Clio GT-Line are a pair of column-mounted shift paddles used to command a six-speed manual box endowed with rather swift reflexes. Performance is briskish rather than concussive. This powertrain offers up 190Nm of torque, with a top speed of 121 mph. Against the stopwatch, the sprint to 62 mph is achieved in a respectable 9.9 seconds.

The major plus point remains that Renaultsport-derived chassis. The Sport Chassis is standard and features 40 per cent stiffer dampers and specific stops. There’s also R.S. Drive. This system offers two driving modes (instead of three on the proper RS Clio), Normal and Sport. Pressing the button sharpens up the car’s responses, including the engine and gearbox mapping, ESC settings, steering feel and throttle pedal response. Selecting Sport mode shaves 30 milliseconds off of the already impressive shift time of 200ms for the gearchange. It also retains the multi-change down function of the 200 Turbo EDC, operated by clicking and holding the downshift paddle. You’re starting to get the message now. This is no mere chicken wire grille and chrome tailpipe job.

The styling of the GT-Line features quite a few funky Renaultsport design cues, from its grille, GT front and rear bumpers and specific rear lip spoiler, to its side sills, offset LED daytime running lights, twin chrome exhaust tailpipes and GT badging both front and rear. Rounding off the package are 17-inch anthracite GT alloys, together with co-ordinating anthracite door mirrors and rear diffuser. In the unlikely event that these alterations still don’t distinguish it enough from other versions, the optional Malta Blue paint finish certainly will.