- Big side-vents for that sweet air the V6 needs

Sometimes a car makes so little sense that it beggars belief it made it to production. The Renault Safrane Biturbo for one, a boat-like saggy French executive that hilariously was to challenge a BMW M5. Same can be said for the Renault Avantime, RenaultSport Spider, Renault Vel Satis and Renault Espace V6. Wait a minute, these are all Renaults. More specifically, Renaults from the 1990s to early 2000s. Then we get to the Clio V6 seen here, not only is it a mid-engined hatchback homage to the Group-B monster Renault 5 Turbo, but also it is the second generation they made. They built the first load then decided to update it and make even more!

The 2003 Clio V6 is part of this seasons Renault Special and offers one of the most interesting offerings from the brand. The brutal bodywork changes are clear from every angle. If this Clio was an Olympian it would undoubtedly be investigated for steroid use. You can still see the Clio shape above the beltline but below it is almost unrecognisable. Those double exhausts spear through the rear bumper looking like cannon barrels, the huge side vents clearly indicate a mid-mounted engine and the wheel-arches jut out just like a group-B rally car. It looks a true micro-supercar. What I will say with a heavy heart is that the modelling seems rather half-arsed. For a car that was left out of the original game then added as a championship reward, there has been no update to the model, it still looks rather dated. Add in no engine detail and we're left with a slightly disappointing model.

Wider arches very clear from the rear of the Clio

Wider arches very clear from the rear of the Clio

Taking it over to Fortune Island for the challenging roads should show whether a big V6 in a short car is any good to drive. Being brutal, the car doesn't feel that exciting off the line, the power delivery is smooth and builds well but the wheelspin under acceleration makes driving the Clio skittish off the line. Once over this, when the car is up to speed, the power translates better to the wheels and the V6 can truly begin to shine.

Worryingly, the brakes develop little feel in use, feeling sticky with any amount of pressure. Whilst the brakes are good enough to create confidence, they can do with refinement to really engage on a good road. More worryingly, with most cars you can begin to steer whilst braking without much punishment. With the V6 you learn mighty fast that doing so has the tendency to violently throw the car into oversteer. The short wheelbase and buckets of power requires a singular input approach at all times.

Get it right however and you get a chance to drive an amazingly sorted, fluid hatchback. The RWD V6 allowing for crazier speeds and brilliant fluidity in the steering. Turn in and feel a clear level of grip on offer as the car mimics supercar handling. The steering, whilst not the most adjustable thanks to the brakes and wheelspin does at least have a good feeling to it, inspiring confidence. It feels like a better Lancia Stratos and that is a real compliment.

In short, the Clio V6 is an amazing oddball, better than it has any right to be and would be a car I wish would make a comeback for Renault.

Totally ridiculous and totally amazing!

Short wheelbase + V6 = snap oversteer

Short wheelbase + V6 = snap oversteer

Interior looks standard, behind those seats not so much...

Interior looks standard, behind those seats not so much...

Handling can be as sweet as anything if you get it right

Handling can be as sweet as anything if you get it right

New Love food? Try foodtribe.

Join in

Loading...
Comments (2)
    Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
2
Loading...