The car is among the most outrageous to come out of the Renault Sport stable and designed specially to celebrate the brand’s 40th anniversary year. It is also the most powerful Renault Sport model yet seen, using the same 275hp engine as the Mégane 275 Trophy-R…
What better way to give it a debut public outing than asking Renault Sport Formula One Team driver Kevin Magnussen to rag it senseless around Monaco’s F1 track?
For a brief moment, even Kevin looks scared. Until a big smile appears on his face…
This film, shot on the Friday of this year’s Monaco GP event, also enabled Renault Sport to show off a number of its other famous models from down the years including the 5 GT Turbo, Sport Spider, Clio V6, Mégane 275 Trophy-R and R26R.
Meanwhile the motoring media have been positively drooling over the thought of the Clio R.S.16 – for now a prototype – going into production.
“This car is something special,” wrote Auto Express’s Sam Naylor after being taken for a spin in the prototype by Renault Sport development driver David Praschl. “It was the cornering ability that had us desperate to try it, though,” he added. “It changed direction incredibly quickly and did so without any hint of body roll.
“The short wheelbase and lively chassis meant it was easy for Praschl to get the Clio sideways, but the oversteer didn’t feel snappy. Despite the big engine up front, the R.S.16 seemed well balanced and we can’t wait to try it ourselves.”
Autocar’s Steve Cropley was also mightily impressed by his ride. “My first recollection is of unstinting acceleration, well into three figures,” said Cropley. “In the first braking area there was no evidence of the nose-heaviness I’d half expected; in fact, the car felt downright light and superbly good at changing direction.”
He added: “Most of the circuit’s corners were good for 60 to 90mph, but the R.S was especially handy in the slower ones, showing off its terrific power-to-weight ratio on the exit.”
Cropley signed off: “Weeks earlier a (Renault Sport) team member had said ‘We excel at chassis development here. You will see.’ It hadn’t struck me as excessively modest at the time, but it would seem he was right.”