15 Oct 2012

New Renault Clio Williams in 2014

Renault are on the verge of announcing a revival of the iconic Clio Williams hot hatch.  As if bringing back the Alpine name with Caterham wasn't enough Renault will build on their relationship with Williams F1 by bringing out a new Clio Williams in 2014.

In what will be the shortest name in the new Clio line-up (alongside the Dynamique S MediaNav dCi 90 Stop & Start ECO) the Clio Williams is expected to be an even faster and more focussed version of the Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo which will be available from 2014.

The liaison will come about due to Williams F1 and Renault's partnership in Formula 1 and signifies Williams' continued use of the Renault engine, which from 2014 will be a 1.6 turbo.  The engine in the Renaultsport 200 turbo is also a 1.6 litre turbo.  The Clio Williams version is expected to develop 220bhp.

Renault have obviously looked on with envy as other car manufacturers successfully add to the cachet of their brands by capitalising on the heritage aspect.  Mercedes, Audi, Ford, Jaguar et al spend a fortune on promoting the historical side of their image and Renault have recently got in on the act by launching the Renault Classic website.  The Clio Williams name is a familiar one to most petrol heads and will give a halo effect to the entire Clio range.

The original Clio Williams was a hot hatch in the classical meaning of the genre.  It was based on a dowdy hatchback but was transformed with a 150bhp 2 litre engine, sports suspension, uprated gearbox, a wider front track and the iconic blue paint with gold wheels.

Only 3,800 Clio Williams were planned but they sold out so quickly Renault had to make more to fulfil demand.  They eventually sold a total of 12,100.

Williams had no involvement in making the original Clio Williams.  Whether they will or will not be involved in the 2014 version is anyones guess because neither party is saying anything at the moment.  Even if this is a purely financial deal (with Williams saving money on Renault F1 engines) no-one will really care.

The name is enough.  Renault Clio Williams.  It will be a hit.