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Clio 172 Cup to Full Fat 197

  197 FF Glacier White
I recently sold my superb Clio 172 Cup,

Why, well as a daily it was proving tiresome, and despite the fact it was an fantastic car when I was it the mood for it, most of the time it was hard to live with on our crappy UK roads. Part of this was down to what I did to it to prepare it for occasional track use, the other factor is the fact I'm an old git!

So I made the decision to look for a replacement, I considered other marques and drove a load of cars but ended up coming back to the Clio, deciding to find a good CLIO 197.
I wanted a full fat example for a little better daily drive experience, I looked at a fair few nails, missed out on a good few cars, travelled all over the place but didn't find much I was interested in until I eventually sourced one through Cliosport.

I've ended up with a white, full fat, cup packed 08 plate 197 with Recaros. Pictures at the end of this thread!

This is the only exterior picture I have at the moment..... p1050483c.jpg

So has it been a worthwhile change?

For me, yes, to a point.

What I gained in comfort, refinement and toys I've lost in other ways.

I've done about 500 miles in it now and it's so much better than the 172/182 at commuting, even with the Cup pack suspension. Having the slightly longer box makes a noticeable diference over the other 197s I've driven, especially at cruising speed.

However, it doesn't feel as urgent unless you keep the revs very high, not really ideal, if I ever bother to mod this one (and I have NO plans too!), it will be in search of more torque!

Like most others, it's also a pig when cold. A remap and dog bone upgrade sorted this on the 172, I'll be looking to achieve the same with this Clio.

The car was tidy when delivered to me, but needed a good deep clean inside to bring to my standards, I'm not a paint or body person like some, I like my interior to be spotless! Eventually I got enough time and a decent break in the weather and gave it a good going over inside.

DSC00032.jpg DSC00030.jpg DSC00024.jpg

However, ownership has been a challenge already! The car had slightly notchy steering when I bought it, I'd read that this was common so didn't think much of it, but over the 500 miles it's got worse and more audible :( the front feels loose at manoeuvring speeds, although it's not noticeable once you're off and running.

On top of this, it's developed a whine from the engine bay, sounds like a bearing, probably a tensioner, I'm hoping it's not the alternator or A/C pump! There is a possible flexi joint exhaust leak too!

It's in for a service first week of July with Birchdown, so hopefully will be fully rectified during this, but it's disappointing considering the much older 172 Cup was fault free throughout 18 months of ownership and nearly 30k of spirited driving!

I've also had to by a new tyre after getting a puncture 5 days into ownership, £117 a corner, I'll be watching where I drive in the future! I'm hoping this isn't going to be one of the 'unlucky' cars for me!

The few trim issues are being sorted, marks on the passenger door card are being sorted by replacement, as is the damaged window seal (thanks RenParts!)

Tiring steering wheel will be replaced with new, but not until later in the year.

Wheels may be resprayed, I like the black but having looked at one with dark anthracite alloys a few weeks back, I prefer that look, I'm undecided yet though.

So a mechanical issues aside, I'm enjoying the car. It looks fantastic, goes well enough and is a major step up in refinement. The built in iPod connector, once I got it working with iPhone, is great, cornering lights are useless, and I keep getting told I have a blown bulb because depending where the steering it pointing, there is a bulb lit ones side and not on the other!

So, WAS it a worthwhile swap?

We'll see when I get the service bill, but I won't judge the car until I've had it a while longer. I just hope the issues it has now isn't the start of a flood of typical RS issues!

Issues aside, good so far, I really miss the thrill of driving the Cup though, I hope the new owner is looking after it! :(



ClioSport Club Member
  Extreme mode
If it 'blows' whilst its cold then it disappears they all do that, both 197's ive owned do it. Cold running will be an issue, and tbh to my knowledge no remap will sort this. All 08 cars had a firmware upgrade to the ecu that was available to earlier cars. Never helped my 06 plate 197 and my current cup is just as bad. tbh

Steering should be fine, no common issues so that might need looking at.

I think one you get over the less urgent feel, they are a fantastic car. Love mine to bits. Recently drove a 182 (steves at birchdown) and while it felt a bit more on the button in throttle response its the only positive over the Mk3 for me.
  197 FF Glacier White
Cheers Gaz, the 'blow' is only on initial start up and until the revs drop off, so that's good news. I am warming to it, it's just my Cup was a hard act to follow dynamically. The steering issue will get looked at by Birchdown, I have asked them to diagnose it while it's there. I'm also getting used to the cold engine behaviour, I know all clios including the 1*2s are like this, but it's more pronounced in this 197, maybe due to whatever's causing the steering knock, as that seems to be engine mounts as a rule.

I'm sure all will be well, I enjoyed the few miles I did in it yesterday, it's sooooo much better behaved than my old Cup in the wet!

  197 FF Glacier White
A little update ......

The Clio had the steering issue addressed under warranty, now drives superb, it really does feel a different car.

I've done about 1000 miles since the fix and coupled with the service at Birchdown, it feels mechanically 100%.

Dodgy window seal replaced, interior cleaned (again!) and a quick (read lazy) polish and the car looks as good as it goes.

I'm now very used to the drive, the cold running seems less prominent at the moment, this could be down to the service, but I also feel it was somewhat magnified by the steering issue, the new rack came with new steering arms, so all that area is now tight, and this I believe has helped tighten up the front end and lessened the 'feel' of the cold running issues.

All in all I'm happy with the trade up, as a daily drive they are worlds apart, as a car to drive quickly and safely, the 197 (cup packed) seems just as quick, and I can turn into corners IMO with more confidence, despite the mods on my Cup, this car has more ultimate grip and poise in corners, especially long sweeping bends.