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  1. #1
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    Daily Telegraph Review of Trophy - A bit of realism at last

    This review is available from the daily telegraph motoring section. I though it was a more realistic review than seems to be the norm.



    Does the limited-edition, UK-only Clio Renaultsport 182 Trophy really offer the most fun you can have in a hot hatch, as its maker claims? Tony Dron decides

    It was a bold mission. At its dedicated factory in Dieppe, Renaultsport set out to create what it said would be "the finest handling, most fun front-wheel-drive hot hatch ever". Based on the successful Renaultsport 182 Cup model, the Trophy is a final shot at producing the ultimate road-going 182 before production of the Clio II comes to an end in September and the new Clio III gets underway.


    Raring to go: a larger spoiler, discreet logos and a lower ride height are all that denote the Renaultsport Trophy from its more ordinary 182 brethren

    Just 500 right-hand-drive Trophies will be made, all in bright red, with a numbered plaque on the base of the driver's seat to authenticate them. Outside the UK, which remains by far the biggest market for Renaultsport products, a couple of dozen Trophies will go to Swiss drivers and that will be that. There is no plan to sell them anywhere else, not even in France.

    The Trophy is distinguished externally from other 182s by its larger rear spoiler, as used on the Clio V6 255, its lowered suspension and discreet Trophy logos on the rear of each sill. Inside, black Recaro Sport Trendline front seats provide excellent lateral support and lower the seating position by a centimetre.

    The standard Clio 182 is a quick car anyway so there was no need to alter the 2-litre 179bhp engine or five-speed manual transmission but, thanks no doubt to its lower stance, the Trophy is rated 1mph quicker on top speed - 140mph. The standing-start acceleration is also slightly improved, down from 7.1 seconds to 6.9 seconds for 0-62mph (100kph), which must result from slightly lower weight and improved traction thanks to the suspension changes (both run on the same 16in Michelin Exalto 2 tyres).

    Based on a competition set-up, the most interesting aspect of the Trophy's special suspension is the use of lightweight Sachs Race Engineering dampers, which have a remote gas/oil reservoir. This leaves more space inside the damper itself for a thicker and stiffer damper rod but it also enables the ride height to be lowered even more, improving turn-in response and reducing initial understeer.

    Equally significant with these dampers is their resistance to overheating, thanks to that remote reservoir. The only snag is that they are said to cost 10 times the price of a normal damper - it's just as well that they should never need to be replaced.

    In view of the relative handful of cars to be made, one wonders why Renault chose to invite a small group of British journalists to try the 182 Trophy, and also see the cars being made in the Dieppe factory. Without doubt, all 500 will be snapped up pretty quickly, so I concluded that the company was simply proud of its new baby and wanted to show us what it can do.

    At Renaultsport, cars are made in a somewhat old-fashioned way: it looks efficient but these are special cars made in small numbers and there's a great deal more human input than you see in the latest car assembly plants.

    Our test drive took us round Normandy and included a long session on the Pont L'Eveque circuit, a pretty but tricky little place packed with tight turns and a main straight on which it was just possible to reach 6,000rpm in third gear (75mph). Here was a chance to test that bold claim to the full and discover whether the 182 Trophy is indeed the finest handling, most fun front-wheel-drive hot hatch of all time.

    My first impression was that, yes, it does turn in well, and it is mighty quick round a track like Pont L'Eveque. Equally impressive, you can keep going at maximum effort for as long as you like and the trusty Trophy does not wilt. The brakes did not overheat and neither did those Sachs dampers - they just keep on doing their job.

    But the finest handling? That's a big claim. It's certainly safe and the temptation is to enter corners too fast, wind on a lot of lock and apply too much power. The ABS and especially the EBD systems keep the braking totally stable even when used hard while entering a corner. You can abuse it and get away with it. It's quicker, however, to exercise a bit of self-control and avoid twirling the wheel too much once in the corners. When switching left/right through tight S-bends, it is possible to hang the back out a little but it tends to resist swinging its tail around.

    In short, it's not like the little Peugeot 205 GTi of old, which was happy to go sideways when the throttle was lifted and thus provided endless controllable entertainment. Renault's 182 Trophy is a quicker car, a much more modern car and perhaps it can argue its corner to claim the finest handling but, no, I can't concede that it is the most fun hot hatch. It's a bit more grown up than that and drivers who appreciate a very fine, high-performance front-wheel-drive chassis, powered by a magnificent twin-cam engine, will revel in it.

    On the road, it's punchy and satisfying yet seemingly effortless to drive and the Recaro seats and excellent controls reduce fatigue to a minimum. It cruises easily on the motorway, too. This is a car which should appeal more to the true expert than the boy-racer.

    At speed on rural roads, the 182 Trophy takes humps and dips in its stride and it's only at low speeds on the worst surfaces in towns - such as cobbles - that the suspension can seem a little harsh. But that will not trouble the people who will buy this very specialised car, nor should it.

    Clio Renaultsport 182 Trophy

    Price/availability: from £15,500. On sale in the UK now.

    Engine/transmission: 1,998cc in-line four-cylinder, 16-valve, DOHC petrol; 179bhp at 6,500rpm, 147.5lb ft of torque at 5,250rpm. Five-speed manual gearbox, front-wheel drive. Performance: top speed 140mph, 0-62mph in 6.9sec, EU Urban fuel consumption 25.0mpg, CO2 emissions 194g/km.

    We like: High-quality components and years of development make this hot hatch convincing: it's exclusive, well-priced and quick.

    We don't like: Some might find the ride too firm on poor city roads.

  2. #2
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    Seems a nice package for the money, would it handle better than a Williams is the question, possibly it would, but put Avo or similar coilovers on.....got to be close??

    I agree it's a good write up, but I would rather spend 5K on a superb Williams and stick 10K in the bank

  3. #3
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    That's the second review I've read of the car, and the second time I've read that the brakes withstood continual abuse without fade. Lucky you're not in charge of the Renaultsport development team Stromba

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    I had a look at one at my local renault garage the other day, I really like it. If I were looking for a new car then i'd consider it definatly. They put the plaque in a daft place though and it doesn't look very good either, just black plastic.

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    Just glad he didnt jump on the band wagon and decided to give what looks like an honest opinion.

    The write up i read in Performance gti mag is rubbish. They have made no effort to get the pictures of the same car they were reviewing in all shots (some are obviously publicity shots), they failed to understand what a resevoir damper actually does, most of the review was cut and paste press release material from Renault (that i see over and over in different reviews) and the trip to review the car was an all expenses paid trip laid on by Renault (wonder why they liked the car ).


    The level of journalism in this country is heading for the gutter. Instead of proper hard honest journalism, we get info mercials, press release reviews and pish pash lame back scratching of corporations. This style is yet another crap import from the good ol' United States

  6. #6
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    Theres only one way to get a good honest opinion Rob, go to a renault dealer and take one for a blast! I only ever use reviews for anything as a rough guide, your own opinion is the only thing that counts.

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    I would love to have a drive in one, who wouldn't?, why though if it is so good and lets face it Reno have produced some real stunners, are they only producing 500 for the UK and a handfull for the Swiss market. Also not even marketing it in France....seems bizarre....anyone got any theories.....will it end up like the Williams and get re-launched in another limited edition?

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    They arnt marketing them in France, because the French consumer would realise that its just a 182 for more money with a plaque.

    The French arnt stupid like the British.

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    The car is superb th question is it better than a WIlliams is diffiucult to answer even if we just say as a track day machine. Ok the cars might not be that much different but since track days often mean accidents the Williams is the car I'd prefere to have to fix the Tropy is the car I'd like to crash in. The Williams is an older car trying to compaire a 10 yr old car with a new car is so difficult as there are few fresh examples around which people are willing to put up as a comparison.

  10. #10
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    LOL, resevoir dampers. Like any road driver will induce damper fade


 

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