Renaultsport Clio Silverstone GP Edition

Ultra-exclusive special edition brings greater luxury to Cup model. Has it taken the fun away from hardcore hot hatch?

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

If you’re in the market for a hot hatch and have £20,000 to spend, you can’t go too far wrong with the Clio Silverstone GP Edition. The standard Renaultsport Clio is one of the most accomplished small cars on the road today, and this special now makes it better value than ever before. Plus, with only 50 in the world, you won’t find anything much more exclusive than this, either.

Is this a future hot hatch classic? The Renaultsport Clio is already one of our favourite pocket rockets, and this Silverstone GP Edition is the most exclusive yet. Only 50 will be built, with all of them destined for the UK.
Unlike Clio specials of the past – including the blue and gold Williams and white-striped Gordini – the Silverstone is a far more understated proposition. Externally, there are only a few subtle clues, such as badges on the pillars, a silver paintjob and black 17-inch alloy wheels. Elsewhere, the door mirrors and roof are also finished in black.
Inside is a pair of standard-fit supportive Recaro seats – usually an £850 option – a numbered plaque and unique floormats. To our eyes, though, the mats in the standard model are far nicer than these grey and yellow plasticky units.
Also included is a Renaultsport monitor, which records G-forces, plus lap and 0-62mph times. The Silverstone is based on the stiffened-up, stripped-out Cup, but Renault has incorporated a lot of kit that can’t normally be specified on this car, even as an option. That includes auto lights, wipers and climate control, plus cruise control and keyless go.
However, the Cup is stripped out for a reason – it saves 36kg – so does this more luxurious model drive as well? Find a tight twisty road, and the answer is clear. The steering is responsive and direct, and the Clio offers a level of adjustability and agility unmatched in this segment.
Virtually non-existent body roll allows for quick changes of direction, and the superb chassis gives plenty of adjustability via the throttle during cornering. The Recaro seats provide fantastic lateral support, and despite limited padding they are actually quite comfortable.
The 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine, which delivers 197bhp, is at its best when revved and can launch the Silverstone GP Edition from 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds. Power delivery is immediate and consistent, right up to the 7,500rpm red line, and there’s a wonderfully raspy-sounding note from the twin exhausts.
The Silverstone is at home around town, too, with enough torque below 3,000rpm for cruising on part-throttle, although the maximum 215Nm doesn’t arrive until 5,400rpm. The only time the car seems slightly out of its comfort zone is on the motorway, where the droning noise of the engine can become tiresome after a while.
It’s worth noting that the Cup chassis does have some compromises. The suspension isn’t crashy; it’s just incredibly firm. Take this car to a marble-smooth race track, though, and it will put a smile on your face like nothing else for the price. The company even throws in a Renaultsport Trackday Experience at Silverstone, including expert tuition (see Page 64), so owners get the most out of their car.
With a standard Cup starting at £16,390, the Silverstone appears expensive, at £19,995. However, it’s impossible to spec a Clio Cup this highly elsewhere in the range, and if you put the same amount of kit on a non-Cup Renaultsport Clio, the price comes to £21,115.
But is the Silverstone a future classic? The limited run is sure to make it sought after. Yet as there are no performance upgrades, and the makeover is only subtle, it’s unlikely to achieve the cult status of some of the more famous Renaultsport models that have gone before.

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