Named in honour of the Wiliams-Renault team's victory in the previous year’s Formula One™ World Championship – when Nigel Mansel won the F1 Drivers’ Championship with a record nine wins in the Williams-Renault FW14B – the Clio Williams was greeted with considerable excitement. The Williams name promised to bring a real performance edge to the ongoing battle of the “hot hatches”.
STYLE WITH POWER
With a 16-valve, two-litre engine delivering a top speed of 215 km/h (134 mph), the stylish new arrival more than lived up to its promise. As well as the headline top speed, the Clio Williams delivered 108 kW [145 bhp] of power @ 6100 rpm and 17.8 kgm [129 ft.lb] of torque @ 4500 rpm.
A POCKET ROCKET
The front-engined, front wheel drive layout and hard suspension – with a trim weight of only 990 kg – all combined to take the car to 100km/hr in 7.8 seconds and gave it a clear edge over its nearest competitors. A five-speed gearbox, gold Speedline alloys and disc brakes all round, ventilated at the front, completed the “pocket rocket” package, not to mention a Phillips stereo radio cassette.
The new three-door hatchback proved so popular that the minimum production requirement of 2,500 for competition homologation purposes was quickly exceeded, with a total of 3,800 rolling off the production line for the first run.
Competition success was not long in coming, with both the Group A and N versions helping Renault secure the Manufacturers' title in the 1993 French Rally Championship.
BLUE FOR YOU
A characteristic feature of the first 3,800 cars produced was a dashboard-mounted serial number plate which made them collectors' pieces from the moment of launch. Painted in 449 Metallic Sports Blue, the blue theme was continued into seatbelts, instrument dials and as a highlight on top of the chunky gear lever.