2003 Renault Clio V6 – ToyBox

By: Alex Affat , Photography by: Alex Affat

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Renault Clio V6 front Renault Clio V6 front
Renault Clio V6 rear Renault Clio V6 rear
Renault Clio V6 side Renault Clio V6 side
Renault Clio V6 rear badge Renault Clio V6 rear badge
Renault Clio V6 rear badge wide Renault Clio V6 rear badge wide
Renault Clio V6 rear engined Renault Clio V6 rear engined
Renault Clio V6 engine Renault Clio V6 engine
Renault Clio V6 interior Renault Clio V6 interior
Renault Clio V6 interior details Renault Clio V6 interior details

A Davidian mid-ship hot hatch channelling Group B heroes of old

Renault has quite a history of fast hatches, and the Clio in particular has been bestowed with sporty models since its inception in the early 90s. But those cases were almost exclusively modified on top of the cars basic layout.

The Renault Clio V6 is another, special, thing entirely. I once heard a certain watch collector explaining what he called ‘sleeper hits’. He said something along the lines of "sometimes, it’s not just the rarity of the piece – but the rarity of the thought behind the piece".

It’s a phrase I think so poignantly explains why the Clio V6 is such an oddity; and in today’s climate of corporate bean-counters and homogenous design and engineering – it simply would not be allowed to exist today. Links to the heroic Renault Turbo 5 are easy to draw, but more than reasonable to make.

Renault-Clio-V6-rear.jpg

Just imagine the economics involved in Renaults decision to take its mainstream hatchback’s native transverse four-pot, front drive and rear seats and toss them all in the skip out back. Then lifting the larger 3.0lt V6 from its Laguna large sedan and dropping it behind the front seats, along with a six-speed rear-drive transaxle.

READ NEXT: MARQUES OF DISTINCTION - RENAULT

It wasn’t even built by Renault originally – but instead by Tom Walkinshaw Racing in Sweden, who were tasked with the comprehensive conversion.

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Initially, the car was a hard sell to punters who pragmatically decided that Renault’s own Clio Sport 172 Cup was a better offering for the dollar. The V6 was marginally quicker in the sprint to triple digits (.5 seconds), but gone were your rear seats with the only load-lugging ability afforded by the now engine-less frunk and a small alcove behind the front seats. The widebody, bigger track (110mm wider up front and 138mm out back) and racier steering all came together for an absolutely massive turning circle given the car’s lithe proportions.

Renault-Clio-V6-rear-badge-wide.jpg

Later in 2003, the car was given the updated Clio face, a power bump to 188kW, and production moved to Renault Sport in France – but the car was dropped from the lineup just two years later in 2005.

Almost 15 years on however, all of the Clio V6’s shortcomings when new have seemingly become almost charming virtues. The standard Clio interior isn’t anything special but it’s almost a quaint novelty when you’re looking at a standard Clio dash knowing there’s a big V6 behind your head.

Renault-Clio-V6-interior.jpg

The updated car was a far more driveable package, with a wheelbase further lengthened by 23mm, and a 33mm wider track up front, along with stuffer subframes and some chassis fettling by Porsche.

The owner of this vehicle warns that you’ve still got to have your wits about you in the wet – given the short wheelbase and lack of traction control assistance to the rear wheels.

Renault-Clio-V6-rear-engined.jpg

But it’s a spiritual Group B car for the road, and offers a unique and glorious kart-like driving experience that is absolutely sublime throughout Victoria’s regional mountain roads.

It will also be a showstopper at your local cars & coffee – which is where we stumbled upon this example! The Clio V6 was never sold new to Australia, and only a handful has been brought in over the years.

Renault-Clio-V6-rear-badge.jpg

If you’re interested in this rare Frenchie - it's on the market for $135,000 (or nearest offer), and you can contact Jack from Cisitalia Promotions on 0401571645.

 

2003 Renault Clio V6

ENGINE: 2946cc 24v V6
POWER: 188kW @ 7150rpm
TORQUE: 300Nm @ 4650rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
BRAKES: Ventilated disc (front & rear)
SUSPENSION: Independent, MacPherson, coil-sprung, anti-roll (f), Independent, coil-sprung (r)

 

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