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Europe's legendary Renault Clio Williams poised for 2014 return

Sun, 14 Oct 2012 As soon as the Williams Formula 1 team inked an engine supply deal with Renault in 2011, auto journos salivated at the thought of a new Renault Clio Williams. (This was after the return of Gordini, during the rumors of the return of Alpine, before the rumors of the Initiale brand, and long before the new Clio was introduced.) The original Clio Williams arrived in 1993 to celebrate Nigel Mansell's 1992 F1 World Championship in his Williams-Renault. In fact, Williams had nothing to do with the hatchback other than donating its name, but the public couldn't get enough of its performance. There were only supposed to be 3,800, but Renault eventually produced 12,100 Clio Williams' in three series.

Renault hasn't publicly said a word about the possibility of a new version of that legendary hot hatch, but Autocar says "well placed sources" have assured it that a new Clio Williams is on the way. A raunchier take on the Clio RenaultSport 200, the Williams edition is rumored to get 220 horsepower from its 1.6-liter four-cylinder, a bump of 20 hp over the RS 200.

Autocar goes on to say that the Clio Williams is around 18 months away, slated to arrive after the RS 200 completes its run. It's unclear whether Williams will assist with its development – the RenaultSport division created the original on its own – but Autocar suggests that Williams' forays into customer-car applications might give it a way in. An announcement from Renault could come as early as this year.

By Jonathon Ramsey

See also: Renault celebrates over a century with three-part series, Renault Clio is the bold new face of France's diamond brand, Renault donates all-electric Popemobile to His Holiness.