New Clio Renaultsport V6 255 | Part Three

Major Technical Upgrades To Enhance Sporting Characteristics

The performance of New Clio V6 255 on the road lives up to the promise of its design. With completely revamped front and rear suspension and the fitting of new Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, the chassis offers improved precision and sporting characteristics, while remaining progressive and easily controllable. The powertrain also boosts sporting sensations with a 255bhp 3-litre V6 24V that loves being run at high speeds.

The shorter final drive gearbox and closer spacing of the internal gears are designed to enable the expression of all the engine's potential.

Thanks mainly to the new kinematics of the rear suspension and stiffer suspension, the new chassis combines stability under load, a progressive response to accelerator pedal actions, maximum control of body movement and optimum distribution of roll stiffness. The 23mm increase in wheelbase, the aerodynamic developments, and stronger centre-point feel of the steering result in improved straight-line stability and sensitivity.

The main modifications have been focused on the rear suspension. A new subframe has been developed. The mounting points for the transverse link and the drop-link have been repositioned and stiffened, together with the upper damper mounts. These changes ensure that the wheel position during vertical movement remains unaffected by lateral forces or by torque reaction during braking and acceleration. The new geometry involves lengthening the trailing arms by 10mm and moving the wheels 15mm rearwards. Spring rates have been increased to enhance the natural anti-roll effect while allowing the rear wheels to remain completely independent, to the benefit of traction.

At the front, the anti-roll bar diameter has been increased to 28mm and the bar is attached via drop-links for improved efficiency, to compensate for the high natural anti-roll effect of the rear suspension. The front suspension castor angle has been increased to 6° to improve self-centring, and the front track has been widened by 33mm in the interest of stability. Finally, the increased stiffness of the springs improves feedback and precision of front suspension placement.

To make the most of the new chassis, New Clio V6 255 is one of the first vehicles to be fitted with new Michelin Pilot Sport tyres. Developed jointly by Renault Sport and Michelin, these 18-inch tyres (205/40 at the front and 245/40 at the rear) ensure maximum precision for sporting driving.

Designed to provide high handling and grip performance, the new Michelin Pilot Sport tyres provide greater directional stiffness for improved cornering. The directional stiffness is obtained by the use of large tread blocks. The new Michelin Pilot Sport tyres thus draw directly on design concepts used in Formula 1 tyres.

With the "Variable Contact Patch" (VCP) concept, the new Michelin Pilot Sport tyres ensure optimum contact with the road surface. In a straight line, the contact patch is symmetrical to exploit the vehicle's power. When transversal loads increase, the tread surface on the road at the outer part of the tyre is maximised for more precise location.

On wet roads, the tyre's assymetric tread and compound mixtures ensure that performances can still be exploited. The use of a 100% silicium tread compound on the inner side of the tyre contributes to high efficiency on wet roads.

A popular feature in the former version, the ABS-equipped braking system benefits from the higher level of grip provided by these new tyres.

continues... | Part Four
Published 6 May 2003 Melanie Carter

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