Sporty Clio will Popularize Dual Clutch Transmissions among the Enthusiast Fraternity
November 1, 2012
The Clio Renaultsport in its various guises over the years has always been a popular compact hot-hatch icon, its combination of vivid performance, sharp handling and accessible pricing regularly placing the model top in magazine comparison tests and all-time favorites rankings.
Now, however, with the switch to the fourth-generation Clio comes an important change of engineering direction. Though maximum power stays at 200 hp, this output is no longer delivered by a high-revving naturally aspirated engine: instead, a downsized turbocharged unit of just 1.6 liters is employed, bringing with it the bonus of a 25 Nm increase in maximum torque that’s also delivered much lower down the rev range – all the way from 1750 rpm to 5600 rpm.
Renault describes this new Alliance engine as having been “sprinkled with the magic dust of Renault Sport,” incorporating cutting edge technologies demonstrated by the DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) cam followers developed from Formula One and Variable Valve Timing (VVT). As always with Renault Sport, the exhaust note has been the object of particular attention, says the company.
Yet the biggest departure from previous practice comes in the area of the transmission. From having been a resolutely manual-transmission car, in line with its sports-enthusiast identity, the new Clio RS becomes even sportier through the deployment of a dual clutch gearbox, capable of both automatic or driver-controlled operation. Given the high production volumes and the high public profile of the Clio RS in the media, this model is likely to give dual clutch transmissions a major step-up in awareness among the enthusiast fraternity – more especially as the DCT is the only transmission choice for the model. This contrasts with comparable sports models from the VW group, where DCT transmission is an extra cost option.
The transmission in the Clio RS is an adapted version of Renault’s six-speed EDC (Efficient Dual Clutch) system, based on Getrag’s 6DCT250 dry clutch design. Changes to suit this application – its sportiest so far – include steering wheel mounted shift paddles and three modes of operation, one of which is a Race setting. In Race mode, gearchanges can be made in just 150 milliseconds, says Renault, while in other modes the transmission will operate as a full automatic, with no need for driver input.
In addition, Renault claims the Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo is able to combine fun with technology in the shape of a ‘sport’ button named R.S. Drive. Pressing the button modifies the engine and gearbox mapping, ESC settings, steering feeling and throttle pedal response. It works in three modes (‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’) and gives the new model an attractive, multi-dimensional sporty character.
Proof of the efficiency of the new engine and transmission combination comes in the expectation of a 25 percent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Definitive performance and emissions data will be released in early 2013 when the new model goes on sale in Europe.
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