Some 22 years after the launch of the first Clio as a replacement to the '5' and more than 11.5 million cars sold in more than 115 countries around the world, Renault has now unveiled the fourth generation of its supermini ahead of its public premiere at the Paris Motor Show in September.
Perhaps one of the most important things to know about the Clio 4 is that it is Renault's first production model to be penned entirely under the watch of the company's chief designer Laurens van den Acker.
The Dutch designer joined Renault in 2009 after resigning from his position at Mazda where he was responsible for several concepts such as the Nagare (2006 Los Angeles), Ryuga (2007 Detroit), and Hakaze (2007 Geneva).
"[The] New Renault Clio was conceived as a piece of sensuous sculpture which stimulates desire," explains van den Acker. "Like muscles, its curves express the dynamism radiated by the DeZir concept car. No acute or aggressive angles, just voluptuous curves that make you want to go up to it and caress it."
The new Clio is offered exclusively as a five-door model with the rear door handles concealed near the C-pillars.
Renault has not yet released details on the Clio 4's exterior dimensions but the company said that it has a lower ride height and wider tracks than the model it replaces. What the French company did tell us is that on average, the new Clio is a whopping 100kg (220 pounds) lighter than its predecessor.
Moving on to the interior, the Clio 4's sports an elegant design with the dashboard said to have been sculpted in the shape of an aircraft wing.
The supermini gets a stylish instrument panel with a digital speedometer, and a minimalistic looking center console that plays host to an infotainment and navigation system with a 7-inch screen that will be standard from the Dynamique trim and upwards.
All versions of new Clio will be available with a 'clever' sound system integrated into the front doors’ loudspeakers as well as Bluetooth-equipped radios that incorporate USB and jack sockets.
Renault is placing a lot of attention on a new personalization programme for both the exterior and interior that will allow buyers to customize the look of their car from the color touches to the front grille, rear and side door inserts, to the dashboard, door panels, steering wheel, gear lever, air vent surrounds, upholstery materials and even the floor mats inside.
When the Clio 4 goes on sale in Europe this fall, it will launch with two engines. These include a new 0.9-liter three-cylinder turbocharged Energy TCe petrol delivering 89hp (90PS) and 135Nm (100 lb-ft) of peak torque with an average fuel consumption of 4.3lt/100km (54.7 mpg US or 65.7 mpg UK) and CO2 emissions of just 99g/km.
There's also a 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbo diesel (Energy dCi 90) with 89hp (90PS), which returns a combined fuel consumption of just 3.2lt/100km (73.5 mpg US or 88.3 mpg UK).
In early 2013, Renault will enhance the range with a new 1.2-liter four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine (TCe 120) with 118hp (120PS) and 190Nm (140 lb-ft) coupled to a new six-speed EDC transmission (Efficient Dual Clutch) as standard.
The Frenmch carmaker has said that in the coming months it will also launch the flagship RenaultSport version of the Clio 4, which is believed to be powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-pot delivering somewhere around 200-horsepower.
The new Clio 4 will be manufactured at Renault's plants in Flins, France and Bursa Turkey.
More details of latest generation of the Clio will be released at the Paris Motor Show, but until then, head over the break for a comprehensive high-resolution photo gallery and the first videos.