Despite its obvious shortcomings, Matthew Hayward reckons the mid-engined Clio V6 is worth the effort
Renault's Clio V6 is a very rare breed of car indeed. On so many levels it’s a flawed concept, but thanks to some motorsport-inspired magic the strange mashup of Renault parts actually comes together to create an utterly fantastic machine.
Taking inspiration from the mid-engined Renault 5 Turbo – a true motorsport homologation special – Renault embarked on creating an equally wide-hipped mid-engined Clio. Most of the engineering work was undertaken by motorsport specialists TWR, with a 3.0-litre V6 engine borrowed from the Laguna saloon in place of the rear seats. TWR also built the Phase 1 Clio V6s at its Swedish Uddevalla facility (with production of the significantly re-engineered Phase 2 V6 moving to the Alpine/Renaultsport factory in Dieppe).
Hampshire performance car specialists Clinkard Cars have got a fantastic specimen up for sale at £23,995. High-mileage and slightly scruffy Clio V6s generally start at about £7000, but this particular example has covered 1852 miles, and looks to be virtually brand new. With that comes a full service and a set of four new Michelin tyres – a must if you ever want to drive the car in wet weather!
When launched, some skeptics doubted the V6, and on paper at least the cheaper and lighter Clio 172 hot hatch is almost as quick. If you see a Clio V6 in real life though, it’s like nothing else on the road. The stunning looks, along with the massive respect you have to give it while driving truly make this pocket rocket a genuine baby supercar.
Renault deserves to be applauded for its efforts in turning such a humble shopping car into something so wild. If you can ignore the humdrum interior and slightly over-sized steering wheel, you’d might be forgiven for thinking you were driving a classic Porsche 911. No other modern car can deliver such a unique driving experience, and it’s unlikely that there will be another one any time soon.
As it stands, the Clio V6 is probably as cheap as it will ever be too. Prices of early cars have actually picked up slightly with the roughest examples now being broken for spares. Despite the horrendous practicality, expensive servicing and at times slightly scary handling, the Renault Clio V6 is a truly legendary car and in my opinion deserves a spot in any classic collection.
See the original Renault Clio V6 ad listing here, from Clinkard Performance Cars