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'Cup' upgrade for Renault Clio 197

Renault Clio 197 loses some weight for extra performance

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Keeping up their reputation as creators of fine hot hatches, Renault has launched a 'Cup' chassis upgrade for the sporty Clio 197.

Taking its name from the successful one-make race series, the Clio Cup gets lowered stiffer springs and is lighter than a standard Renaultsport - sacrificing air conditioning, keyless start and electric door mirrors in the name of race-bred performance. Even the inside will feel basic after the soft-touch plastics and padded door panels were binned to shave off a few more kilos. Whilst it will be lighter, leaner and harder than the normal 197, no official performance figures have been released yet.

It's meant to be a cheaper, more mainstream production model than the limited edition, hardcore F1 Team R27 which went on sale earlier in the year. But the Cup does adopt many of the same tuning techniques from that car - it just does without the 'F1' stickers and decals.

There aren't many options - as standard, it's painted Racing Blue with 17 inch anthracite alloys, but you can also get a white version with matt black rims. And it is possible to undo all of Renault's weight saving work by adding air con, curtain airbags and Recaro racing seats.

Currently, there's no official word on price but the Clio Cup should be with us by the end of the year.