A hot hatch legend is coming back to claim its crown. Following the announcement that Renault is to supply engines to Formula One team Williams once again, our sources have revealed that the 1992 Clio Williams – consistently rated as one of the best pocket rockets in history – is set to make a triumphant return.
And our exclusive images show how the race-inspired supermini, decked out in the original’s classic blue and gold livery, will look when it arrives next year.
The new car promises to be even better than a standard special edition. A Renault spokesman told us: “We don’t want to pollute the [Renault and Williams] tie-up with simply a marketing exercise – you can rest assured it will be something suitably uprated from the standard car.”
“Discussions are currently ongoing, but with Williams based here in the UK, and Renaultsport models being so popular in this country, we’re definitely keen to make this happen.” It appears that the feeling is mutual, too. Williams F1 chairman Adam Parr told Auto Express: “We have announced our Formula One engine partnership [with Renault].
“Our [separate] venture with Jaguar is to produce a supercar, but it does not preclude us from entering into arrangements that do not compete with the C-X75. Let’s see…”
With an all-new Clio due at the end of 2012, the timing is perfect to make this resurrected legend a final farewell for the current Renaultsport Clio 200.
Under the skin, the newcomer will benefit from a significant makeover. Expect the aggressive 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine to get a boost in power from 197bhp to around 240bhp.
However, the French manufacturer is keen to make sure this potent new model doesn’t step on the toes of the more expensive 247bhp Renaultsport Mégane. Suspension will be similar to the set-up in the current Renaultsport Clio Cup, but with race-derived Sachs dampers, as fitted to the Clio 182 Trophy that was launched in 2005.
The car will also boast bigger brakes and Bridgestone Potenza tyres – as on the new Mégane 265 Trophy, which recently set a new lap record for a front-wheel-drive car around the legendary Nürburgring track.
Rather than being a pared-back race model, the original Clio Williams was plush inside – and the newcomer aims to follow the same example. So buyers can expect to find all the kit from the standard variant, including climate control and TomTom sat-nav. Interior modifications will also include Recaro seats embossed with the Williams logo, and a plaque commemorating each car’s place in the production run.
The new limited edition is likely to carry a price tag in the region of £25,000.