On the eve of the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix, and to mark 40 years in F1, Renault is previewing the hotly anticipated Megane RS. Crack Renault F1 driver than Nico Hülkenberg took a camouflaged near-production prototype on a lap of the circuit prior to the hot hatch’s full release at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Debuting on September 12, the next-gen Megane RS aims to become “the new compact sports car benchmark,” according to Renault Sport Car’s director Patrice Ratti.
Renault had a pleasant surprise for us too: alongside the EDC paddleshift auto, Renault's offering a six-speed manual gearbox - so both enthusiasts and F1 wannabes should be happy. Details about what will power the go-faster hatchback have not been disclosed, but some are suggesting it will be a turbocharged 1.8-litre petrol engine shared with the reborn Alpine sports car. While in the A110 it pumps out 252 horsepower, in this new application the engineers are expected to dial the output to somewhere in the region of 300 hp.
It will continue to be a front-wheel-drive car despite rumours about Renault’s plans to go AWD (like the Ford Focus RS) and is going to be offered with an optional four-wheel steering system to make it more agile while tackling corners at higher speeds.
Renault has announced its answer to the new Civic Type R will go on sale in the first quarter of next year. Time will tell whether the company subsequently heads to the Nürburgring and attempt to reclaim the title for the fastest FWD production car, which currently belongs to its Honda arch-rival with a time of 7 minutes and 43.8 seconds...