More images showing the 2018 Renault Sport Mégane have been released; Renault suggests the car is nearing completion
The next Renault Sport Mégane has been shown again, following its world debut ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.
The images show the car still wearing disguise, testing in various locations, and also confirm the car’s availability with a six-speed EDC double clutch transmission or manual gearbox.
Renault Sport F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg drove the 300bhp-plus hot hatch at Monaco around the street circuit on 26 May, in the car’s first public outing.
Ahead of the demonstration, Renault Sport released a single preview image that shows the front of the car. It gets a thick front spoiler and more aggressive bumper design.
An earlier leaked image (see below), showed the car’s rear, with a distinctive, trapezoidal exhaust incorporated into a rear diffuser, and a ridged spoiler.
The image leaked onto an automotive spy page; the sheet covering the car suggested it was at a private event at which the car may have been shown.
The design is more mature than some rivals, such as the lairier-looking Honda Civic Type R. Brand design boss Stéphane Janin told Autocar this was because he believed Renault Sport’s next model would be better off flaunting its performance with raw pace rather than lairy design.
“Our brand is not about aggressivity,” he said. “We try to have a powerful product but rather simple with sensual shapes. That’s what we tried to make with the next RS, which is actually harder than going aggressive I think. To find the right balance is harder but I think we have done it.”
The car, which was recently previewed in an official video (below), will be the most potent Megane produced yet. It will get four-wheel steering and benefit from the larger platform of the latest Mégane, making it a contender to steal the Nürburgring front-wheel-drive lap record from current champion, the Type R.
Under the bonnet of the hottest fourth-generation Mégane will be a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine. The unit will produce more than 300bhp, making it at least 29bhp more potent than the most powerful version of the old car’s engine.
It will drive the car’s front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox, but a six-speed EDC dual-clutch automatic will be offered for the first time. While European markets are expected to prefer the manual, markets in Asia will likely have more demand for EDCs.
Due to the lower and longer five-door only platform of the new Mégane, which sits 25mm lower and is 28mm longer than the old car, plus the use of wider tracks, the next Mégane RS is expected to have significantly more mechanical grip.
The use of four-wheel steering will also help to make it more agile at speed, while improving the car’s turning circle and enabling Renault Sport to make the steering more alert.
The hottest version of the outgoing Mégane RS, the 275 Cup S, reaches 62mph from rest in 5.8sec. Expect the next Mégane to trim several tenths off that sprint time, making it quicker than the Honda Civic Type R which takes 5.7sec and close to the four-wheel-drive Audi S3 which needs 5.2sec.
The car’s sporting design is expected to take influence from the details of the latest Clio RS. The test mule wears a cut-up version of the Mégane GT’s body, with only wheel arch add-ons and a centrally mounted twin-exit exhaust system giving away the true identity of what lies beneath.
Renault has remained tight-lipped about its next hot Mégane, but the brand has at least hinted that the car’s arrival date will be some time in 2018. As with the facelifted Clio, expect a small increase in price over that of the current Mégane RS, so a starting price of around £27,000 is likely. We expect to first see it at the Frankfurt motor show, though.
This significantly undercuts the Honda Civic Type R which starts at £30,000 and ranks the Mégane RS well above the less hardcore Ford Focus ST which starts at £22,750.
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