Rate It: The Clio V6 Was the Second Mid-Engined Hot Hatch From Renault

Although the rear-wheel-drive Renault R5 Turbo was quickly outclassed by the all-wheel-drive machines that showed up to dominate Group B, the mid-engined hot hatch still left a mark on the world as an unorthodox method of turning a pedestrian economy car into a true rally machine.

Of course, the R5 was phased out by the mid-to-late ‘80s, but it would not be the only time Renault put an engine in a hatchback where the back seats normally go.

Initially constructed in small numbers to compete in a single-make series intended to promote the more pedestrian Clio, the Clio V6 was built in three different “Phases,” the first of which was the fully race-equipped Trophy model with a reported 285 horsepower and 226 lb.-ft. of torque.

The other two versions—aptly named the Phase 1 and the Phase 2—were slightly detuned road-going versions of the race car with a few added creature comforts.

The only major difference between the Phase 1 cars (built from 2001-2003) and Phase 2 cars (built from 2003-2005) is their power outputs, with the former making a reported 227 horsepower and the latter making 252 horsepower. Both were powered by a 2.9-liter V6 that was placed behind the driver and passenger seats, and both sent their power to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission, save for the Trophy model that used a Sadev racing gearbox.

As well, even though the Clio V6 was visually similar to the front-engined Clio, very little was shared between the two models.

Is the Clio V6 the true successor of the R5 Turbo, or does this mid-engined Renault defeat one of the big perks of getting a hot hatch—ample cargo space behind the seats?

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