Clio tuning guide

"French Chiq"

We were emailed us for more information on tuning and building a modified Clio and particularly which turbo upgrades work best, so this page has been assembled which covers our go to modifications for this car and what we feel are the optimum value modifications you can do.

Launched in 1990 Renault moved away from giving their cars numbers and started to use names.

The car was sold as a credible city car for trendy people and has enjoyed particular success doing much for Renaults reputation as a manufacturer.

It wasn't until 1993 when we saw a real performance Clio introduced with the arrival of the Clio Williams with a 16v 2.0 engine producing 150 bhp.

It went to show what Clio Tuning is able to achieve and got a lot of performance enthusiasts interested in the Clio.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums


Clio tuning took off when Renault released the Williams model, with their new RS lineup the car is attractive as a practical hot hatch.

The best models from a tuning point of view arrived in 1998 where the Clio RS or Renault Sport was introduced. Non sport models would benefit greatly from the addition of uprated suspension and anti roll bar.

We have seen recent Clios setup for the track from Renault Sport who just keep upping the power output of the engine.

Power is all well and good but you need to get that power down to the road. TorqueCars recommend a Torque Sensing or Torsen diff to help with traction. It can dramatically cut lap times and greatly improves handling on the Clio when powering out of corners, the more power you have the more vital this becomes.

The 1.6 and lower engines do not offer much tuning potential and most owners wanting to tune these look to do an engine swap usually going for the 2.0 engine. A set of fast road cams and breathing mods (Exhaust and Intake) will raise power levels of the 2.0 to a credible 180 bhp.

Of the 2.0 engines we would recommend the RS over the standard 16v engine as these offer greater tuning flexibility. The Williams engines are quite rare so are hard to recommend as engine swap candidates unless you can find one.

The following modifications are usually performed by our members, decide how far you want to go before you begin.

Getting the right mods for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 (competition) mods just don't work well on the road.

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Best mods for your Clio

  1. Remaps - Clio remapping provides the biggest gains in terms of cost, aftermarket ECU upgrades, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road Camshafts are generally the biggest mechanical mod upgrade, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they are doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake and Exhaust - Please note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Clio Suspension Upgrades - Replacing worn bushings and shocks radically improves your Clio handling. Coilovers and Bushings are the usual go to mods
  5. Brake Mods - Improve your Clio's stopping power ought to be listed in your priority list.
  6. Forced induction upgrades - A New Turbo is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. Although one of the most costly upgrades you'll see massive gains.
  7. Flowing and porting the engine head - for larger gains, you will get better flow and make a more efficient engine if you do this to support your other mods.

Clio Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Exhaust with sports cat, Panel air filter, Remap, lighter flywheel

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Fast road cam, ported and polished head, fuel injector & fuel pump upgrades,

Typical stage 3 mods: Engine balancing, forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), competition cam.

The flagship Clio is the 3.0 V6 with its mid mounted rear drive engine. The whole body has been widened and early cars were a little tail happy in the wet. With some suspension revisions it is possible to correct this. Look out for 3.0 V6 requiring a cam belt change as this is a very expensive job, the engine location makes it pretty hard to work on.

There are also some interesting engine swaps going on with in various Clio Tuning projects and we are seeing the humble Clio keeping up with much faster cars on the track.

Handling modifications are usually your first port of call for the Clio. Drop the car optimally somewhere in the region of 35mm and fit stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Our aim in Clio engine tuning should be to increase peak power and Torque at the top end.

The best power gains come from larger engine sizes. The more you start with the bigger the return on investment so engine swaps are good value mods for small engined cars.

Renault Clio Tuning modifications.

Peak power is all well and good but a drivable and fun car needs a wide power band and lots of low down torque. One of the best mechanical mods you can do is to fit a fast road cam. When pushing up the power you will need to pay close attention to your Clios fuelling. More power needs more fuel - it's a simple as that.

Uprating the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel. Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned Clios uprated injectors.

Clio Tuning

Renault Clio Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine.

De-restricting the airflow into the engine is the primary part of tuning so get a better flowing air filter.

Induction kits sound great but due to the warm air in the engine bay they will not add noticeable power and actually rob you of power.

Sports exhausts will certainly help air flow through the engine but do not go too large or you will reduce the flow rate. Stick to 1.5 to 2.0 inches for best results and a little larger than this on the V6.

Airflow through the head can be dramatically increased with some professional porting and polishing. These should match and be setup to take into account any other engine mods. A good fast road power clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never skimp or expect a standard clutch to cope.

Renault Clio Wheel modifications.

It is worth noting that although they look stunning on the Clio, big rims will actually decrease your performance. The larger you go the lower your acceleration will be due to the change in your effective final drive ratio. Aim to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the same as supplied from the factory. In all cases we do not recommend going above 16 inches.

Our members include many Clio owners with all ages and types of car, join the forum and swap tips and get pointers from our seasoned Clio tuning members.

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