A sneak peek at the new Renault Sport Megane RS

23rd May 2017
Bob Murray

We get our first peek of the all-new Renaut Megane RS on Friday  May 26th– when Nico Hülkenberg climbs aboard the still-secret hot hatch for a blast around the streets of Monte Carlo. 

Renault is unleashing its star performer early – the official unveiling isn’t due until the Frankfurt Motor Show in September – to whet our appetites and throw down a gauntlet to rivals. There is, after all, a certain ‘Ring record at stake here…

We might not be able to discern too much about the latest version of France’s best hot hatch from this pre-Monaco GP publicity run, though. Renault Sport F1 driver Nico is sure not to be hanging about and the car will sport an all-over yellow and black paint job to mark the 40th anniversary of Renault’s involvement in Formula 1. So far all we have to go on is the head-on pic of the new car with its disguise still on, and the teaser video above. 

This is the fourth-gen version of the road, race and rally favourite. It first introduced the RS initials to the Megane 2 in 2004, trying to recapture some of the zest of sporting Renault Gordini saloons of previous decades. The first RS got spoilers, strident paint colours and 225bhp of turbo power for 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds. 

Stalwartly front-drive – like they all have been– the first RS also got trick front suspension to tame the torque steer. It almost worked. Over the years the RS in its many versions and guises – from famed R26.R to a dCi diesel! – played the sporting card with aplomb. Proper ingredients – Recaro seats, Brembo brakes, clever aero and always fantastic chassis tuning in both Sport and Cup forms – were RS trademarks, as you would expect of a company with its own in-house F1 team and “from racetrack to road” ethos. 


So what can we expect of the new one? Front-drive certainly, along of course with a four-pot turbo motor with more than the 300bhp it will need to compete with rivals. It’s thought the RS will stick with a manual ‘box but alongside a new flappy paddle auto option, a first for the Megane RS.

Based on the larger latest Megane, it will be five-door only. Spoilers and clever aero? For sure, but as the teaser pic shows the overall look is likely to be more restrained than reckless.

Renault hasn’t so far said it will take the new car to the Nordschleife where Megane RSs have taken three different front-drive ‘Ring records. They began in 2008 with the R26.R and finished most recently in 2014 when the 275 Trophy-R became the first front-driver to break eight minutes.

Its time of 7min 54.36 seconds looks good… until you remember that in April this year the latest 316bhp Honda Civic Type R clocked a 7minute 43.8second lap. That’s over 10 seconds faster!

Will Renault feel obliged to go back to the Nordschleife and try to reclaim its crown? Do one-legged ducks swim in circles?

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