The Renault Sport Clio V6 Is A Hot Hatch With A Supercar Engine Layout

The Renault Sport Clio V6 is one of the cars that set new standards in hatchback capability and revived Renault’s reputation in the early 2000s with a motorsport-inspired design and performance.

After its introduction, Renault finally put the Clio V6 Renault Sport into production in 2001, entering the market the same year. It was largely based on its sporty sibling, the Clio V6 Trophy, with some parts inspired by the Renault 5 Turbo. In the end, the Clio V6 became a unique road-going hatchback with a sleek, sporty design and standard rear-wheel-drive mechanism. Aside from all its attributes, one thing that stood out in the sports car was the mid-engine arrangement, which paved the way for a unique dynamic ability, at the expense of the rear seats.

The Sport Clio V6 was produced in two stages, with the first 230 hp unit being produced from 2001 to 2002 and the second 255 hp unit being produced from 2003 to 2005. Compare to the standard 5-seater Clio counterpart, the Sport Clio V6’s production was limited, with only 2,822 examples built. Thanks to its outstanding performance, the vehicle’s status continued to grow for years, and after the termination of the Phase 2 lineage in 2005, the sporty Clio V6 pretty much slipped through the cracks.

We’ll dive into the car’s design, powertrain and performance figures, discussing why the Clio V6 is an underrated hot hatch.

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Origin Of The Sport Clio V6 Hot Hatch

The Sport Clio V6’s legacy began with a sporty counterpart, the Clio V6 Trophy; A make series competition car was introduced in 1998 and produced the subsequent year. Replacing the Renaultsport Spider Trophy race car, the Clio V6 Trophy had an incredible power output that came from a strong 2.9-liter V6 engine.

Following the good performance figures of the Clio V6 Trophy, the brand ordered the development of a road-going version, named the Sport Clio V6, from none other than the renowned TWR (Tom Walkinshaw Racing). This model was debuted at the Paris Motor Show in 1999, along with the Vel Satis concept. The TWR team knew that a road version of the V6 Trophy, with a mid-mounted engine, was possible, but would require extensive reconstruction. And in 2000, the Clio V6 was born.

The brand mainly introduced the Clio V6 to promote the second-generation standard lineup, which launched in the spring of 1998. In dimensions, the Clio V6 was wider than the Trophy version, measuring 150.8 inches in length, 76.4 inches in width, and 55.9 inches in height, with a 99.6-inch wheelbase.

How The Mid-Engine Arrangement Changed The Sport Clio V6 Line

Although most of its features were inspired by a Clio V6 Trophy, the Sport Clio V6 Phase 1 model utilized a 3.0-liter ES9J4 V6 engine, derived from the Renault Laguna, which made 230 horsepower at 6000 RPM and 221 lb.-ft at 3750 RPM. Thanks to this power, the Sport Clio V6 could accelerate from zero to 62 mph in about 6.4 seconds, and a top speed of 147 mph.

This naturally aspirated V6 powertrain was installed inside an entirely bespoke rear structure, just behind the driver and passenger. Power went to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. Accommodating the PSA Group-derived engine in its mid-engine, rear-wheel drive arrangement required heavy structural engineering, which led the brand to sacrifice the rear seats. The resulting Clio V6 was about 660 pounds heavier than the 172 Cup, the regular, high-performance sibling from the standard range. The new RWD also opened up a new driving experience.

The Phase 1 model was produced until 2002, after which it was replaced by the Clio V6 Phase 2 in 2003. This model received a few styling updates on the inside and out. While its curb weight grew to 3,086 pounds, the wheelbase shrunk by an inch, which, in turn, made the car slightly sluggish and decreased the cabin space. To tackle the increased weight, the Clio V6 came with an additional 25 horsepower, which, at that time, turned it into the most powerful production hot hatch in the world, surpassing the likes of the SEAT Len Cupra R and the Alfa Romeo 147 GTA . This enabled the Clio V6 to achieve a 62-mile sprint in 5.8 seconds, and a 153-mph top speed.

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The Renault Sport Clio V6 Is A Valuable Sports Hatch Today

You should expect to pay an average of $52,787 for a Renault Sport Clio V6 hot hatch, with the fewer garage queens topping the $120,000 price point. If you’re lucky, you might find one for just 26,138, either in the domestic or international market.

But like most limited-edition cars from the 2000s era, these hatches are quite rare today, so it will take a hard look to find one, particularly on in good condition. About 45 units of the Sport Clio V6 have been retailed over the last half-decade, according to Classic, a site that tracks listings and sales of various classic cars across the net. The few folks that do manage to get a hold of one of these bad boys become so instantly attached to its powerful engine and engaging drive.