Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy-07

Honda may have stolen the front-wheel drive title from Renault at the Nurburgring with the new Civic Type R, but the French have staked their claim at a new record for B-segment hatchbacks – the Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy has lapped the lengthy Nordschleife circuit in 8 min 32 seconds in a test conducted by Sport Auto.

That’s a staggering 36 seconds faster than its less potent cousin, the Clio RS 200 EDC, and three seconds faster than the next competitor tested at the same test, the MINI JCW. By comparison, the Opel Corsa OPC clocked in at 8 mins 40 seconds, while the Audi S1 trailed the others at 8 mins 41 seconds.

Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy-02

As its name suggests, the RS 220 Trophy’s Nissan-derived 1.6 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine puts out 220 hp and 260 Nm – 20 hp and 40 Nm more than the RS 200 EDC – thanks to revised engine mapping, a larger turbo, a redesigned air intake and a new exhaust system.

Also fitted is a quicker-shifting six-speed EDC dual-clutch transmission, a faster steering rack, lower, stiffer suspension and stickier Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres over redesigned 18-inch wheels. New Matte Frost White paint, gloss black exterior accents, “Trophy” badging, bespoke bucket seats, carbon fibre-look trim and a numbered plaque complete the transformation.