As competitive as the supercar market is these days, the hot hatch segment is arguably as, if not, more competitive. No place is that more evident than at the famous Nurburgring where countless cars of all shapes and sizes have performed hot laps to determine their place against the competition. The Honda Civic Type R is currently the record-holder in the FWD hot hatchback segment, but the B-segment small hot hatch market has a new record-holder.

The Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy has taken its place atop the segment after posting a blistering lap time of 8:32. For a little perspective, the standard Clio RS200 EDC posted a lap time time of 9:08. Do the math and the Clio RS 220 is 36 seconds quicker than its standard counterpart. Pretty impressive!

Sport Auto editor Christian Gebhardt was behind the wheel of the Clio RS 220 Trophy in its record-setting lap time. Gebhardt certainly had his fill at the ‘Ring, piloting other B-segment hot hatches around the track. None of them came close to the Clio RS 220 Trophy, with the Mini Cooper John Cooper Works coming the closest at 8:35. The Opel Corsa OPC came in just behind at 8:40, narrowly edging out the Audi S1 at 8:41.

The Clio RS 220 Trophy is still 42 seconds off the pace of the Honda Civic Type R’s 7:50 lap time, but considering that the Renault runs a segment lower than the Honda, it shouldn’t diminish its accomplishment. The hot hatch is powered by a 1.6-liter turbo engine that produces as much as 220 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. A torque boost function enables a peak torque of 207 pound-feet.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

Considering how competitive this market is, posting the fastest lap time for a B-segment hot hatchback is a big coup for Renault. You could even say that it’s been a personal mission for the French automaker ever since its big brother, the Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy-R’s record lap time of 7:54 for the hot hatch segment has since been broken by the Honda Civic Type R’s 7:50 lap time.

It’s probably not the segment Renault prefers to be the record-holder at, but I’m sure they’re no less thrilled about seeing the Clio RS 220 Trophy back up all the hype it has gotten since it made its debut at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.

Now that the 8:32 lap time has been established, you can be sure that the competition’s going to try to break that number. The Mini Cooper JCW seems to be up-to-task, as are the Opel Corsa OPC and the Audi S1. Rest assured, these hot hatches, together with other segment standouts like the Ford Fiesta ST and the Volkswagen Polo GTI, are all looking at that lap time to see if they can have their turn at pushing Renault out of the top step of the podium.

Of all these models, I think the Cooper JCW has the best chance to do it. Sure, it may have posted a lap time that’s three seconds slower, but of all the cars that the Clio RS 220 Trophy should be looking at, the Mini’s performance numbers come closest to the Renault. Give it a few mechanical tweaks and maybe shave off a little weight and we could have a totally different discussion in the future.

I’m excited to see how this shakes out. Knowing how competitive these automakers are, I’m pretty sure that we’re going to hear more about this race to the record sooner than later.

Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy

2015 Renault Clio Renaultsport 220 Trophy EDC High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy here.

Source: Autoweek

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