For performance with daily practicality, the usual answer is a hot hatch. And some of the best modern ones, like the Honda Civic Type R, can even embarrass classic supercars. But some hatches went beyond ‘hot’ and went straight to ‘super’ thanks to some drastic changes.
And YouTube team The Straight Pipes recently spent time with one of those: the Renault Sport Clio V6. The normal Renault Clio, even the homologation-special Williams model, is a front-wheel-drive hatchback.
And the vast majority of Clios have front-mounted four-cylinder engines, Petrolicious explains. That’s not the case with the 2001-2005 Renault Sport Clio V6. The Renault Sport Clio V6, aka ‘Clio V6,’ is in many ways the successor to the 80s Renault 5 Turbo, Hagertyreports. Not just in terms of layout, but the extent to how it differs from the base car. Like the 5 Turbo, and unlike the base Clio, the Renault Clio V6 is a mid-engine RWD hatchback.
The Renault Clio V6 isn’t just a hot hatch—it’s a proper small-scale supercar
And instead of a four-cylinder, it has a 3.0-liter V6. A V6 which is housed inside the cabin, taking the place of the rear seats, Car and Driver reports. In the 2001-2002 ‘Phase 1’ cars, it makes 230 hp and 221 lb-ft, Automobile reports. The 2003-2005 ‘Phase 2’ Renault Clio V6s have 255 hp, Evo reports.
And with a 6-speed manual, the latter goes 0-62 mph in 5.8 seconds. The Renault Clio V6’s changes from the standard car don’t stop there, though. Many of the French hatchback’s body panels aren’t shared with the base Clio, Road & Track reports. The Clio V6 also has a different chassis, HonestJohn Classics reports, along with a larger grille and rear spoiler.
It also rides lower and has sportier suspension, larger anti-roll bars, and 4-wheel vented disc brakes, Automobile reports. Plus, it has well-bolstered sport seats. The Phase 2 Renault Sport Clio V6 further refined the hatchback’s performance capabilities.
In addition to the extra power, it has a longer wheelbase and a wider front track to address handling concerns. These issues were also why Renault revised the rear suspension and fitted an updated steering rack and bump-stops, SuperStreet and Top Gearreport. The Renault Sport Clio V6 The Straight Pipes drove is a 2002 example, making it a Phase 1 car.
But that still makes it endearingly quirky and fun to drive. The Renault Sport Clio V6’s modifications and chassis reinforcements mean it weighs about 1000 pounds more than the base Clio, Jalopnik reports.
As a result, despite the extra power, 0-62 mph for Phase 1 cars is 6.4 seconds. It’s faster than the base car, but it’s not at the level of the ‘average’ supercar. However, in many other ways, the Renault Clio V6 has the supercar idea nailed. For one, unlike a hot hatch, it’s almost hilariously impractical. It only has 2 seats, the interior is loud, and there’s no rear cargo space. There is a frunk, but it’s rather small. Plus, the mid-engine hatchback’s turning circle is rather poor.