In 2007 it was joined by the more focused, cheaper and stripped-out 197 Cup, with crisper steering, a lowered chassis and stiffer springs. That same year this set-up also found its way into the F1 Team R27, a limited-edition model that celebrated Renault’s 2006 F1 success. In 2008 the TL4 gearbox got revised ratios, including a taller sixth gear.
A facelift came along in 2009, offering a nose job and improved interior, a few extra horsepower and a new name: 200 (the metric power output). It also gained a little more torque, improving pick-up. The suspension was improved further and torque steer all but eliminated, while Cup variants got an even quicker rack. More power, even sharper suspension? No prizes for guessing the 200 is the one to have.
The Raider special edition, with 18in wheels and leather Recaros, led the farewell parade (a 2011 with 40k miles costs £11,000). Production ended in 2012 with the arrival of the all-new Clio RS 1.6 turbo auto, a damp squib that has only stiffened the values of late 200s.
An owner’s view
Jane Harris: “My 197 is a 2007/07 car with 76,000 miles. It’s been fun although it’s for sale now, for £2995. It’s not exactly comfortable over bumps but it’s really nimble. The gearbox had to be refurbished – it had eaten the selector ring – and I got little change out of £900. The electric windows packed up too. It’s a common fault caused by blocked windscreen drain holes. Otherwise the car is very reliable, although it’s very thirsty – high-20s typically.”
Engine: Cambelt (and water pump) must be changed every five years or 72,000 miles. Oil changes are every 12,000. Engines are strong so walk away from any that leak or rattle. Expect a 197 in to ‘kangaroo’ from cold (a remap may sort it). Super-unleaded fuel is best.