The hottest hot-hatch of all time?

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Edit: Recent Top Gear feature here

The hottest hot-hatch of all time? Our first Clio Williams in the 30+ years of dealing in cars! The below is taken from here

“In 1993, Renault launched the Clio Williams as a limited edition of 3,800 cars (1,300 more than they needed for homologation purposes) with each car bearing a numbered plaque on the dash. These sold out so quickly that Renault ended up building 1,600 more.[3]

After the first series, due to the demand, Renault built Willams 2 and Williams 3. Altogether there were 12,100 Clio Williams made. But because a lot of new road cars were directly converted to race cars and when damaged replaced with another converted road car, actual number of road cars is significantly lower. A lot of cars have been broken for parts in the last few years, making the road cars in original condition even more rare[citation needed].

The car was named after the then Renault-powered Formula One team WilliamsF1, though Williams had nothing to do with the design or engineering of this Clio. The modifications to the Clio 16S on which it was based were the work of Renault Sport, Renault’s motorsport division.

The 2.0 L 16-valve straight-4 engine rated at 147 PS (108 kW) and a top speed of 215 km/h (134 mph), with performance-tuned ride and handling. Renault later released the Williams 2 and Williams 3 special editions, much to the chagrin of those owners who had been assured of the exclusivity of the “original” Williams. One common mistake people can make is thinking that the 2.0 16V (F7R) used in the Williams is simply a bored out 1.8 16V (F7P), whereas, in reality the large engine had different size valves, cams, stroked crank and engine oil cooler. Other differences between the Williams and the Clio 16S it is based on include a wider front track with some parts borrowed from the Renault 19, wider Speedline alloys, uprated (JC5) gearbox, bespoke four-to-one manifold, firmer suspension, and some cosmetic differences on the exterior and interior.[citation needed]

The differences between the three versions of the Williams were largely a reflection of phase changes across the Clio range, e.g. the gradual addition of enhanced safety features and cosmetic variations. Other than this, the Williams 1 and 2 had no sunroof and were painted in 449 Sports Blue. The final Williams 3 was painted in a slightly brighter shade of blue (432 Monaco Blue) and finally gained a sunroof which had long been standard on virtually all previous Clios. The original Williams was the lightest of the three, lacking the electrics necessary for the sunroof or the mirrors, and was the only one to sport a metal plaque stating the build number.

Respected motoring journalists consistently rate the Williams as one of the very best hot hatches ever made[citation needed], regardless of era. One of its many accolades was 6th place in Evo’s Car Of The Decade feature in 2004.

Renault Clio Williams was and still is a very popular rally car. Basic racing version (Gr.N) had racing suspension, different engine management and a more free flowing exhaust. Power output was around 165 PS (121 kW). Roll cage was made by Matter France. Bucket seats were made by Sabelt.

Next step up was Gr.A car, which was fitted with 16″ Speedline 2012 rims (with optional extractors), further improvements on suspension and more tuned engine producing between 205-220 PS. Front brakes were also uprated with 323mm discs and 4 pot Alcon brake calipers.

Final evolution was Renault Clio Williams Maxi kit-car with wider arches and 17″ Speedline 2012 rims and improved Proflex suspension. Sodemo engine was further tuned to 250-265 PS”

 

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