So it has finally arrived!!!!! Where do I start??
Well after having drove a 172Sport demo car as my only new Clio experiece (had a Williams in 95), I can say that the demo car was not a good example.
Its pretty raw, I must say and thats from a current owner of a 280 bhp 01 WRX Impreza with full Leda adjustable suspension and 18" wheels and an Elise with about 140 bhp.
Under acceleration, theres quite a bit of torque steer, especially over 5K revs and it does tramline quite a bit over undulating B roads,,, very twitchy I would say.
The brakes,,, knife sharp with a very binary feel to them,, either full-on or full-off!!!! The Impreza has ABS with 330ml floating carbon fibre 4 pot brembos and the Elise has NO ABS with NO serv assitance. Both are therefore completely different in the braking dept. but are easy to handle. The Cup,,,, ive locked up twice the inside front when braking for an innocuous corner over non-marble-smooth roads,,, im sure ill get used to it but with no ABS and servo assistance, the servo is too strong.
The handling. Yep im impressed. It will not cover the ground compared to my Impreza but, enthusiastically driven, it will defo keep up with a standard WRX. Theres good turn-in an good composure, however the handling will only be truly sorted when ive got proper,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
,,,SEATS!!!!! They are pants and do not inspire confidence and one is not getting the feedback from the road and not being properly held in. Also, you do sit up too high and this affects the driving position with respect to the steering-wheel angle and especially the pedals.. Ive only size 9 feet and I keep getting my left foot stuck on the steering wheel arm above the clutch, so sometimes do not press the clutch in fully. This can result in a bogged gearchange. Anyway, ive got some lovely blue and black Konig buckets sitting in our workshop as we speak and Im just waiting for a set of Clio sub-frames and then hopefully, this whole issue will be sorted.
The suspension is very hard and is really twitchy over B roads. You really have to keep your concentration.
The engine/performance - For a car thats only done 650 miles and opened out completely from 500, im impressed!!!!! At the moment, 2nd gear max is "just" 60 mph and 3rd is about 80 mph, is this normal or is the engine still tight or have they altered the gearing???? FYI 4th gear at approx 4K revs is 80 mph. I remember my old Clio getting up into the 90s in third!!. When you change gear at the top of the rev range the ECU seems to hold onto the revs too long, resulting in when you depress the clutch/release the throttle, no matter how quick, there seems to be a momentarily wild over revving of the engine. Is this the same in all 172s as I do not remember this from the demo car. This engine is still tight and the car is pretty rapid I must say. From 80 - 100 mph in 5th, it flies and would absolutely mash a standard WRX,, thats official. It really picks up at 4.5K rpm. Im really looking forward to the engine loosening up!!!!
Gearing/Gearbox - Bit w**k actually. Too loose for proper changes and too long on the throw. The Elise box is chunky, but sublime, the Imprezas standard box is a little too long so weve added a "quick-shift". Question, does someone do a "quick-shift" for the 172, i..e makes the throw shorter???
Exhaust. Need to get it changed and de-cat it. Any reccommend a good full system.
Overall, love it,,, but its a drivers car through and through, not for the faint hearted and if you are not a confident driver, then dont drive it, but for me, its perfect for what I want and could not be happier with making this choice. Compared to a Cooper S, this is raw and this is how I like my cars. At this stage of my life, its perfect and a perfect complement to the Elise and Impreza.
"" Sorry,, Geordie Paul is correct re rpm, I meant 4k revs @ 80MPH in 5th""