The new megane RS has a lot of hype to live up to, but the early signs are promising.
In the world of hot hatchbacks there are a dizzying array of cars that are truly enjoyable to drive, with performance to entertain even the most the sceptical of petrol heads. Cars like the focus ST, golf GTI and Civic Type R immediately spring to mind. But few cars have enjoyed the enthusiasm and popularity the RS badged Megane has achieved in recent years. Head to the Nurburgring car park and you’ll be counting RS Megane’s like discounted sofas in DFS. This is largely due to the Megane having the some of the best on track performance in its class, with only the recently unveiled VW Golf Gti Club Sport S beating the Megane’s Nordschleife lap time. Ever since the 4th generation Megane was released in early 2016 speculation has been rife over what direction Renault’s in house tuning division Renault Sport (RS), will take to continue the legacy of the outgoing model.
However in recent years Renault Sports’ direction has left a small hole of disappointment. The new Clio RS lacks driver involvement, doing away with a manual transmission, and the Twingo 133 replacement, the Twingo Gt, while intriguing with its rear engine, is nothing more than a glorified lawnmower. But over the last couple of months Renault has been drip feeding select information as to what can be expected in the new Megane RS, and it looks promising. First of all the new car will remain front wheel drive. Rumours suggested Renault may be pandering to follow a route similar to the AWD Ford Focus RS with torque vectoring and active differentials. However, Renaultsport boss Patrice Ratti was quick to end the debate confirming the Megane will retain its Fwd layout, presumably to keep the Megane close to its roots as a poised, balanced and engaging front driven car with a lower price than the ‘Hyper hatch’ territory the Focus and Golf R have created. Finally, the new Megane will only be available as a 5 door with the 3 door coupe being discarded from the range altogether
Ratti also suggested the Megane will come with both options for an EDC duel clutch gearbox and a manual. This is great news for all Renault sport fans who were previously left unsatisfied and let down by the lack of a manual option in the Clio RS 200. Another important detail Renault has revealed is that the RS will use the rear wheel steering system found in the current range topping GT Megane. This could potentially improve the Megane’s handling characteristics as the new model is 28mm longer than its 3 door predecessor, and if the Porsche 991 GT3 RS is anything to go by, then the addition of rear steering could dramatically enhance turn in response and agility.
However if the Megane is to recapture its title as the fastest fwd car around the ring, then it needs more power. Renault has responded, promising the Megane will have in excess of 300bhp which is nearly 30 more horses than before. It is also believed the new Megane will sit a whole 25mm lower and wider tyres appear to be on the cards too.
So if figures are to be believed the new Megane should be a capable successor of the outgoing model. However, whether the Megane retains its magic touch of being a hooligan on the track but still a B road barnstormer on Buttertubs Pass will only come to light after the first drive, which will have to wait until early 2018.
Image sources google/ autoexpress