Renault confirms new Renaultsport fettled Megane will arrive in 2017 in official teaser.
Renault has all but confirmed that a new Megane RS is on the way, after Renaultsport teased its next creation in celebration of achieving one million likes on Facebook.
The teaser confirms that we’ll see the car for the first time later this year, with the Frankfurt Motor Show in September now looking very likely to be the stage for the debut of the new Megane RS. However, we don’t expect it to go on sale until early 2018. It’s difficult to get an impression of the aggressive bodywork Renault no-doubt has lined up for its hot model, but it’s possible to spot that the car will get chequered-pattern LED lights low down in the front bumper, like to the lights seen on the Renaultsport Clio R.S 16.
Our spy photographers have spotted the car being tested prior to Renault’s teaser. There’s not too much we can take away from these first pictures of the car, which is a mule based on the existing Megane GT, but you can see a central twin-pipe exhaust sticking out of a cut-out from the back bumper.
Last year, Renaultsport boss Patrice Ratti told us that despite the current Megane RS engine being good for up to 300bhp, there are no plans to develop that car any further – so an attempt at the front-wheel drive Nurburgring lap record – currently held by the VW Golf GTI Clubsport S – will have to wait. “The Megane is faster in the corners but you need power for the straight section… We’ll have to save [the record attempt] for the next Megane, I think.”
During an interview in 2016, a separate company insider told Auto Express: “When you have torque vectoring, rear-wheel steering and four-wheel drive, and you want the car to behave in a certain way, you have to have a global chassis control system,” the insider said. “When you see cars like the Focus RS, you can feel that Renaultsport will have to do something about it.”
This conversation hinted that Renaultsport was considering four-wheel drive to rival the Ford Focus RS. The brand has been keeping close tabs on that car as it develops the next hot Megane, which is likely to appear in 2018. But Boss Ratti’s latest commments confirm that the car will remain front-wheel drive.
As our exclusive image shows, the RS will keep the Megane’s trademark design cues, although it will be set apart by beefier wheelarches, reshaped bumpers and larger alloys. The new Megane will be a five-door only, and the RS will cost around £30,000. If it is to beat the lap record, the Megane will need a power boost over the current car’s 271bhp – expect in excess of 300bhp from a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo.
Renaultsport boss Patrice Ratti also told us that the RS will “probably” get a manual gearbox, as well as the EDC dual-clutch automatic option from the Clio RS.
“The EDC gearbox offers the car up to new markets, like Japan and Australia, but we would prefer to be able to offer the choice of a manual,” said Ratti.
The lesser Megane GT model was also developed using Renaultsport expertise, and features a rear-wheel steering system that’s likely to make its way on to the full-fat RS model. This set-up improves mobility at low speed but also stability at higher revs.
Development of the new Megane RS was started alongside the standard model, which is something that will happen more often. Our source told us: “Renault is saying that Renaultsport is something special and it should work on more cars. At the moment, we have the RS, Alpine and Clio to work on.”
That also includes hybrids, as Renault starts to develop more electric models. “It’s only the beginning, but we are looking at a hybrid project,” our insider continued. “As Renault is keen to look at it, of course we will have to be involved as well.
“We are trying to be involved in big decisions, including the architecture, and how batteries will be put in the cars. If we have four-wheel-drive systems, we need to look at how to get more performance to make them fun to drive.”
What do you think of the next Renault Mega