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

By Colin Wood
Dec 2, 2020 | Renault, Rate It, Clio V6

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. It was an unorthodox approach 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–back 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-'03) and Phase 2 cars (built from 2003-'05) 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?

Like what you're reading? We rely on your financial support. For as little as $3, you can support Grassroots Motorsports by becoming a Patron today. 

Become a Patron!

Join Free Join our community to easily find more Renault, Rate It and Clio V6 news.
View comments on the GRM forums
Aaron_King PowerDork
12/3/20 9:46 a.m.

I got to see one of these at the Lane, very much cool.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/3/20 11:13 a.m.
Aaron_King said:

I got to see one of these at the Lane, very much cool.

I was just going to say that people can see on IRL at the Lane Motor Museum. (And, really, everyone here should visit the Lane.)

fanfoy SuperDork
12/3/20 12:17 p.m.

I remember seeing one in the wild in Scotland in 2002.

If it wasn't for the exhaust note, I would have never realized that it wasn't just another Clio with some Max Power body kit. I love the sleeper aspect of it. 


kevinatfms GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/4/20 5:19 a.m.

There was also the Clio Williams hot hatch. It made 150hp and weighed 2,000lbs but was front wheel drive. Still, it was a total rocket for the time period and helped pave the way for the later Clio V6.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/4/20 8:32 a.m.

In reply to kevinatfms :

Kinda like how the 2.5RS (in the States) paved the way for the WRX and STI. 

Duke MegaDork
12/4/20 8:35 a.m.

One of my favorite cars from Gran Turismo 3.  I would absolutely powerball one.


BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/4/20 9:30 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

It's actually a distinct line of cars - the Clio Williams in its guises (IIRC they made two or three versions of them) mostly paved the way for the later hot Clios like the 182 et al.

The V6 is a bit of an outlier, other than proving that people are still willing to cough up good money for weird, small production run cars.

Our Preferred Partners