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After making its Asian debut in KL a full year ago and getting spotted in RHD form last month, the Renault Clio RS 200 EDC finally receives its Malaysian launch at the Sepang circuit. The world first saw the hot fourth-gen Clio at the 2012 Paris show.

Its 1.6 litre four-cylinder turbo engine, equipped with F1-developed DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) cam followers, direct injection and VVT, feeds 200 hp at 6,000 rpm and 240 Nm between 1,750 and 5,600 rpm to the front wheels via a six-speed dry-clutch EDC (Efficient Dual Clutch) gearbox. Yup, no more manual, but the century sprint is still achieved in 6.7 seconds, while top speed is a heady 230 km/h.

With its front bumper-mounted LED DRLs, striking 205/45 R17 alloys, sill extensions and hidden rear door handles, the five-door pocket rocket looks a treat. The F1-style front blade, a Renault Sport hallmark, sits atop a lip spoiler that is responsible for 20% of the extra downforce generated; the remaining 80% coming from the rear diffuser, which holds twin tailpipes.

The cockpit boasts red highlights on the seat belts, gauge needles, stitching, door panel beading, steering wheel and gear knob. The instrument panel layout comprises a digital speedo bridging a rev counter on the left and fuel gauge on the right. Keyless entry and start (still gotta stick the card into a slot, though), rain and light sensors, plus cruise control with speed limiter are standard.

A seven-inch touch-screen incorporates TomTom navigation, Bluetooth, audio streaming and Renault R-Link connectivity. An RS Sound Pipe brings engine sounds into the cabin, while an interesting app called R-Sound Effect offers a choice of seven engine sounds piped through the car’s speakers. So you can ask your Clio RS to sing like an Alpine A110, Renault 8 Gordini or even a Nissan GT-R!

Recording and analysing your driving behaviour is RS Monitor 2.0. Touted as the most comprehensive on-board telemetry system on a production car, it provides performance data, g-force diagrams, power and torque curves, graphic displays of the EDC internals, a stopwatch and data logging.

An RS Drive button on the centre console offers Normal, Sport and Race modes that influence engine and gearbox mapping, ESC and ASR settings, steering feel and throttle response. Race allows full manual operation, with gearchanges executed in 150 milliseconds.

Also on are Launch Control and Hydraulic Compression Control, the latter incorporating a secondary damper within the main damper unit. An electronic limited-slip diff fights understeer by braking either the inside or outside front wheel (as opposed to cutting engine power). The car has lapped Sepang in 2 minutes 48 seconds at the hands of Singaporean racing driver Denis Lian.

The car gets the tamer Sport chassis (not the Cup, which is 3.0 mm lower, 15% stiffer and offers a quicker steering rack). We’re told a higher-spec Trophy version will be introduced later as a limited edition. As for the standard Clio TCe 120, that could arrive towards year-end.

Fully imported from Dieppe, France, the Renault Clio RS 200 EDC is priced at RM172,888, OTR with insurance. Included is a three-year/100,000 km warranty.