Let’s sum up this car quickly so we can leave the keyboard behind and get back to driving it: the Clio RS Gordini is one of those cars whose steering wheel and gear shifter you never want to let go. Seriously, we really considered not letting the car rest for the night(s) during our test drive.
It’s not just the fact that it’s fast, because at a naught to naughty time of 6.9 seconds, you can laugh in the face of normal cars, but, in a straight line, most performance cars will defeat you, but it manages to mix these with a lot of fun, as well as with a certain level of comfort. Thus, the Clio RS Gordini is so much more than just a toy, it’s a proper car.
In fact, this straight line performance is its weak point. It is the best B-segment hot hatch, but it can’t go past the limits of its class and therefore if you’re willing to use is as ego food, you might end up hungry. Sure, it can devour many cars on a track and it will take you up to 230 km/h / 142 mph (this is the on-dash figure), but a good diesel V6 will outrun you on the highway, while a compact hot hatch will beat you at drag racing.
All these thoughts make you lust for its big brother, the Megane RS, which comes with a proper, mechanical LSD, shaves a full second off the 0 to 62 mph time and can take on the big boys. But, you see, the Clio offers a level of the purity that can’t be found in the Megane - It feels more natural, more like an extension of your body.
The Clio RS starts at EUR20,800 (USD 26,900 at the current exchange rates), while adding the Gordini equipment level bumps the price to EUR22,300 (USD28,870). We have to say that this supreme Clio equipment treat does and doesn’t deserve it’s money.
If, like many of the of the buyers of this car, you are looking at it from below and you’re stretching to buy it, you won’t miss a thing brought by the Gordini trim level, so it’s OK to go without it.
However, if you’re looking for a car that keeps the traditional values of fun, can be driven everyday, but you’re not that tight on the budget, you can go for the Gordini, as all the exterior and the interior goodies are worth it. And don’t worry, this is a numbered special edition, but Renault is well known for extending this kind of cars, so you will be able to get your hands on one. Either way, the Clio RS deserves every penny, it gives you back a storm of positive emotions every day you drive it.
And there’s another thing about the Clio RS Gordini: in their pursuit for ever greater performance and efficiency, hot hatches are jumping into the turbocharging boat, so this is one of the last naturally aspirated engines still standing and this is something you want. By the way, at the moment when this review was written, Renault was throwing the first teasers of the next-generation Clio on the web. Want to take a guess on what engine the RS version will use? Probably a 1.6 turbo...
While you're parked, you might want to check out the video below - it's a short film directed by Jean-Christophe LIE, which perfectly ilustrates the feeling of freedom you get when you drive a Gordini.