Renault builds on success
The GT offers sporty looks and handling to the standard Clio.

Renault has impressed just about everyone with its current generation of Clio light cars and will expand its range with a new GT variant.

The upcoming addition will offer sporty looks and performance tweaks while slotting in below the flagship RS 200 EDC performance-wise.

It comes after the French marque took a similar approach with its Megane small car, which Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar said had proved a success.

"The Megane range was the first in Australia to introduce the Renault Sport-created GT versions in mid-2013, and they have already developed a loyal following," he said.

He expected the Clio GT to perform just as well.

"We have been delighted by the successful launch of the award- winning Clio in Australia and we are confident the Clio GT will add a new and very appealing dimension to the range," he said.

"Australia is a strong market for sporty models and the new Clio GT is aimed at a customer looking for a slightly sportier driving experience than the standard Clio."

Officially dubbed the Clio GT 120 EDC, it maintains the sexy styling which has garnered the Clio such praise, but adds wide-set LED lights incorporated into the front bumper, modified rear bumper design, twin exhaust tailpipes, dark metal inserts and door-mirror housings, extra-tinted rear glass, 17-inch wheels and GT badging to help differentiate it from its stablemates.

There is also a special Malta Blue colour exclusive to the GT.

Things stay the same under the bonnet, with the GT having the same 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbo unit found in the Expression and Dynamique Clio variants throwing up 88kW and 190Nm.

Like those variants, the GT also has a six-speed dual-clutch transmission and a fuel consumption of 5.2L/100km.

Aside from its looks, Renault has added to the GT's sportiness with its chassis. Developed by Renault Sport technologies, the car's underpinnings have specially designed features to enhance handling and feel.

Its front springs and dampeners are 40 and 30 per cent stiffer than in other Clio variants respectively, with suitably adapted bump stops.

An RS Drive function allows drivers to choose between a number of different modes which alter steering calibrations and how the accelerator and transmission react.

Sport mode predictably makes the acceleration more responsive and makes gearshifts faster.

The cabin has also been modified to up the GT's racing character, with GT-branded upholstery on sports seats, speckled-grey finish on the dash, grey trim highlights and a leather- trimmed sports steering wheel with fixed paddle-shifters.

The GT is expected to arrive in showrooms in April, with pricing and full specifications to be revealed closer to its release date.

In other Renault news, on the same day it announced its Clio GT plans the company revealed it will bring out a new version of its Renault Trafic light van.

Though details such as specs, prices and arrival dates are yet to be disclosed, according to Renault the third- generation model will have new styling, technologies, and engines that "benefit from Renault's expertise in the world of Formula 1 racing".

Not holding back, it also claims the van will provide business customers with "innovation for a better life".

The West Australian

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