Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

There's only the one engine and the name rather gives the game away. Where you'd normally expect to find the back seats of a Clio you'll find a 3.0 litre V6 powering the rear wheels via a six-speed gearbox. Originally it produced 230bhp but facelifted models were badged V6 255 on account of a power hike to 255bhp to help it edge more comfortably away from its front-drive hot-hatch siblings.

Performance is strong, but not mind blowing and it needs to be worked hard to deliver its best. This is no chore, however, as pushing this engine to it's red line makes music for the ears of any car nut. Such a big engine means plenty of torque and the V6 will pull well even from low revs. The gearshift is fairly loose with a long throw, but you soon get used to it.

Short-wheelbase, mid-engined cars demand respect more than any other and the V6 needs quick reactions and confidence to drive to its limits if you are to avoid a spin. On the other hand it does generate impressive traction even in the wet and with familiarity it presents a very rewarding driving experience. Traction control is not fitted so this car can scare the willies out of you as much as an old Porsche 911.

The front end has little weight, so the steering is light and you need to take it easy into corners to let the tyres find grip. Second generation V6s had much revised suspension which made fast driving less of a knife edge experience but many will feel more confident in a Clio 182.