For the first time, the reputable hot hatch will be available with a dual clutch or manual transmission.
The Renault Megane RS is a reputable member of the hot hatch club, but it’s starting to show its age amidst some of the new younger models that have been flooding the market. Luckily, it’s finally getting a long overdue update to rival the new Honda Civic Type R. Just in time for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, Renault used the iconic street circuit as the backdrop to preview the new Megane RS for the first time. Renault Sport Formula One driver Nico Hülkenberg was seen tearing round the circuit in a near-final production prototype model.
The hot hatch was camouflaged with a black and yellow livery to commemorate 40 years of the company’s involvement with Formula One. No specifications have been revealed yet, but Renault has revealed that the all-new Megane RS will be offered with a choice of a dual clutch or a purist-pleasing manual transmission for the first time since the fabled hot hatch was introduced way back in 2004. “I don’t think we could have chosen a more appropriate or more impactful moment than the 40th anniversary of Renault’s involvement in F1 to launch a new model,” said Patrice Ratti, Managing Director of Renault Sport Cars. “We aim to make All-New Mégane RS the new compact sports car benchmark.”
“I got an opportunity to test All-New Mégane RS during its development and I was hooked first time out by the excellence of its chassis,” added Hülkenberg. “Renault Sport has done a tremendous job on its performance credentials. It was a huge pleasure to drive it around the legendary street track at Monaco today”. Rumor has it that the new Megane RS will be powered by the same turbocharged 1.8-liter unit as the alluring Alpine A110 with an output of around 300-horsepower. Unlike some of its competitors like the all-wheel drive Ford Focus RS, Renault is keeping the Megane decidedly old-school with a front-wheel drive setup.
Like the original Megane RS, Renault Sport have utilized F1 technologies to produce a “truly exceptional package of efficient aerodynamics, reliability, road holding and high performance.” Renault will reveal the production version of the Megane RS at the Frankfurt Auto Show on September 12th before it goes on sale next Spring. Despite its popularity in Europe, Renault has yet to introduce the Megane RS in the US since its 2004 debut, so it's probably best not to hold your breath for the new model to break the tradition, sadly.