It might sound ironical that Renault brought back the Gordini name as a range-topping equipment level that brings extra exterior and interior goodies, leaving the technical side untouched, since Amedee Gordini, was a man that heavily modified the mecanical side of Renault vehicles in the 50s, 60s and 70s, making them go faster.
Nicknamed “Le Sorcier” (The Sorcerer), Gordini started his relationship with Renault by tweaking their gearboxes and ended it with supervising the mechanical development of a Le Mans-winning car.
However, if we consider the fact that Renault Sport, the carmaker’s racing division, which also handles its go-fast street models, has already turned the model it has touched into to rolling pieces of explosive material, we realize that there was simply not enough room for another performance sub-brand in Renault’s stable. In fact, is this would ever appear, it would have to be Alpine, a sub-brand that the company is rumored to be planning to revive for quite some years now, but this is a different story.
We’ve chosen a very special pen to write this Gordini story: the Renault Clio RS. The vehicle’s history dates back to Gordini’s time, when the Renault 5 Alpine / Gordini was launched (1976). After receiving a Turbo incarnation (1982), this was replaced by the first generation of the Clio, which came with the Williams performance model (1993).
The second generation of the Clio brought the first RS model to life (1998), the 172, which received a revamp, in the form of the 182. The third generation of the Clio made room for the the 197 and now we are dealing with its facelift, the 200 (2010).
Over the years, the Clio RS, which, together with the Megane RS, is put together at the company’s motorsport factory in Dieppe, has built the reputation of the fastest contender in the sub-compact hot hatch segment.
The switch between the two generations the RS models are based on also made the vehicle more comfortable, allowing it to offer more than just performance for money and Renault claims that the new Gordini equipment level takes this to a new height.
Buckle up, we’re going for a ride. Back in the day, Amedee Gordini didn’t have ESP, so we’ll leave ours at home too!