“Fitting four-wheel steering was the biggest decision we had to make”, Patrice Ratti, Renault Sport boss, told journalists. The system allows the rear wheels to turn up to 2.7 degrees, delivering more stability and agility.
The engine fitted is a 1.8-litre, four-cylinder unit that powers the Alpine, instead of the old 2.0-litre version, but Renault uses a different turbo and cylinder head for more power, and the revised version revs to 7,000rpm. Renault cites more than 34mpg and 155g/km CO2.
The hot hatch is based on the stand Megane but has a body that’s 60mm wider at the front and 45mm wider at the rear. Aggressive styling additions include a front blade painted gunmetal grey, vents behind the wheel arches and chequered-flag LED fog lamps set in the bumper.
The RS comes with the choice of a Sport or Cup chassis and an auto or six-speed manual gearbox. All versions get the four driving modes: Comfort, Normal, Sport and Race, the last of which disables the stability control system completely.
Renault has already confirmed it will develop a Trophy version with 296bhp and 295lb ft of torque. Sales begin next year; rivals are all priced at about £30,000 so expect the Megane to join their ranks, starting at about £29,000.