Renault Sandero RS Racing Spirit Edition Kicks It Old-School

Call us old fashioned, but there’s something we still love about old-school, naturally aspirated hot hatches.

They’re deliciously analog in comparison to today’s digital pocket rockets with their turbochargers and flappy-paddle gearboxes. But who’s still making them the old way?

Renault is, that’s who. Sure, the latest performance versions of the Clio and Megane are all forcibly induced, with more doors and clutches than are strictly necessary. But down in Argentina, it still offers one for the ages.

It’s the Sandero RS 2.0, a model which is sold (sans the Renault Sport treatment) in other markets as a Dacia. Now introduced at the Buenos Aires Motor Show as the Racing Spirit edition, it packs 17-inch alloys, Michelin PS4 tires, red brake calipers, and other heart-rate-quickening touches both inside and out.

The Sandero RS is powered by a 2.0-liter atmospheric four-cylinder engine that produces all of 145 horsepower, channeled to the front wheels through a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission. With such little muscle, it won’t set any Nurburgring lap records. In fact it’ll take 8.5 seconds to reach 62 mph and top out at just 124. But the Renault Sandero RS is about more than outright performance – it’s about the driving experience, and we wish we didn’t have to go all the way to South America to drive one.

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  • Wayne Alan Carr Heyes

    shame this doesn’t come to the UK

  • Dennis James

    Selling inefficient, heavy gas guzzler engines to poor countries is just a lack of respect. The same power figures could have been obtained from a 1.2 liter turbo engine with less weight and much better fuel consumption. And probably the same costs too.

    • caruser

      I got your point, but I would like to disagree. In south american countries you need engines that can handle low octane fuel. Additionally the (by the way lovely) people there haven’t got the cash or the possibility for taking care of the car’s service intervals – at least not all of them. Therefore it would not be clever using turbo engines. An approved good old 2 liter engine is the best choice for tbe purpose.

    • Emea Ito

      a 1.2 liter turbo with the same power will have almost the same fuel consumption. this downsizing and forced induction engines trend, that ‘consumes waaay less’ it’s just a mirage. it’s all a marketing exercise. think about stoichiometric ratio. 14 parts air for 1 part fuel. more forced air in, more fuel injected. otherwise will detonate and blow the engine.
      who thinks at fuel consumption in such a car anyway. in a ‘sporty’ car you think at performance and driving experience. a 2L is even batter in this car. think about the opportunity of supercharging this engine and it already sounds batter, if you’re looking for raw performance. I still prefer the old 2L n/a from clio rs with variable valve timing & all the goodies, instead of turbocharged 1.6 from the new clio rs.

      • Dennis James

        A turbo 1.2 will have the same consumption as the N/A 2.0 only when used at full power. In normal day to day usage it will be much more economical. And you would be nuts to spend thousands of dollars supercharging an unreliable Renault engine when you can spend 250 dollars on a software tune for a turbo engine.

      • Vassilis

        You’re not talking out of personal experience, do you? My 2.0 litre turbocharged engine which produces 280hp consumes 8.5 ltr/100 km with mixed driving and climate control on. Also, because some fast cars are daily drives as well and because we have to pay for fuel it’s nice if they consume as little as possible. When you go for a spirited drive you’re comfortable with the idea you’ll burn some fuel. When you go for a relaxed drive or for a road trip, fuel economy is more than welcome.

        By the way, the old Clio RS’ 2.0 litre was a sweet engine, full of character, but with modern standards it’s just too weak.

  • Julien Lachemoi

    I would never want to own or even drive a Dacia but this I wouldn’t mind giving it a good run.

  • Ludmil Kushinov

    Let`s say just that mine Alfa 145 is 25 years old and have same specs, why to push for Dacia? Alfa is even looking better 🙂

    • Christian

      Only that its an old car by now…

      • Ludmil Kushinov

        And still smokes a lot of new “hot hatches” on traffic lights 🙂 A lot of people impressed and surprised, by this old car 🙂

  • Guilherme Silva

    Fellas, this car will be shown in Buenos Aires Auto Show, but was already launched in Brazil last week.

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