Ok. Here’s one you may not have heard of before. The Renault Clio V6. “Now, c’mon,” you might be saying. “What’s so special about that car?” Well, for one, it has been known to seriously kill people. All right, so maybe not, but the car has been said to be very scary when you are at the limit. That in itself makes this a car to see. The reason for this is that the Renault Clio, in normal form, is a simple sub-compact with a 4-cylinder engine under the hood. But then the guys from RenaultSport got their hands on it and transformed it into a monster, and a rare one at that.
The thing that makes this car both special and dangerous was that the V6 engine was not put in the front. The guys over at Renault took a V6 from a Laguna and plopped it behind the driver. This meant that the handling was slightly compromised, especially in the wet. It had massive lift off oversteer, and with the engine behind you, there was no way to catch it. As it stood in MkII guise, or the one that I would want in my garage, the engine produced 255 hp and was, at the time, considered to be the most powerful hatchback in the world. Of course, the car itself was not at all practical because the back seats were removed because of the engine and fuel economy was poor. Not only that, but the car has one of the world’s worst turning circles at 43 feet (for those who want to know, a normal turning circle is less than 40 feet for most midsize cars). It literally couldn’t do a 180 from one turn lane to another. You would constantly be making left and right turns to get going the other way.
But that isn’t what this car is about. This car is about driving pleasure and on that level it exceeds wildly. Even Jeremy Clarkson likes it and he doesn’t normally like French cars. The thing that this car has in spades, and which can really make or break a car, is character. From the bassy exhaust note to the racer looks, the car screams and shouts at you to look at it.
This is the car that is the spiritual, although well removed, successor to the Renault 5 Turbo. And although this car doesn’t have a turbo, the engine is more than powerful enough. It will propel you to 60 in just 5.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 153 mph. With a face like a bulldog and a custom widebody kit that enhances the look and feel of the car, this is certainly one of the better looking hatches ever made. This is a car that many Americans don’t even know about, unless they play video games, and even then they still probably don’t know what it is.
Because of its rarity, looks, engine and overall basic sporting appeal, this is one of the cars that would certainly be in my garage if I had the money to afford it. The Renault Clio V6 is just a great car no matter how you look at it – unless you need to make a U-turn.