On the eve of the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix and to celebrate 40 years of involvement in F1, Renault is previewing the hotly anticipated Megane RS. None other than Nico Hülkenberg hopped behind the wheel of a camouflaged near-production prototype to do a lap of the Circuit de Monaco prior to the hot hatch’s full release set to take place at the 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.
Originally introduced back in 2004, the Megane RS will soon make the transition towards the new five-door-only generation set to be available for the first time with both a manual gearbox and a dual-clutch automatic transmission. Details about what will power the go-faster hatchback have not been disclosed, but some are suggesting it will be a turbocharged 1.8-liter gasoline 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 rumors 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 with the diamond logo will head to the Nürburgring and attempt to reclaim the title for the fastest FWD production car, which currently belongs to its Honda archrival with a time of 7 minutes and 43.8 seconds.
Gallery: 2018 Renault Megane RS preview
New Mégane R.S. offers sneak peek at Monaco Grand Prix
- New Mégane R.S. makes first public appearance in drive around Monaco’s famous grand prix racetrack by Renault F1 pilot Nico Hülkenberg.
- New Mégane R.S. will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, sales are scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2018 and for the first time, customers will be able to choose between manual or dual-clutch EDC transmission.
Monaco, May 26 – Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix is the backdrop for the first public view of New Mégane R.S. driven by Renault F1 pilot Nico Hülkenberg. Inspired by Renault Sport’s new visual identity, its smart yellow and black livery accentuated the new model’s assertive, ultra-sporty lines. “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 Renault Sport Cars’ Managing Director Patrice Ratti.
Formula 1 driver Nico Hülkenberg did a brief exhibition on the track at Monaco to provide a sneak peek of what’s to come with the New Mégane R.S. But it was not his first time behind the wheel. “I got an opportunity to test New Mégane R.S. during its development and I was hooked first time out by the excellence of its chassis. 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!”.
Since the launch of the original Mégane R.S. in 2004, the model’s mission has always been to embody the passion for motorsport and make racing technology DNA an affordable reality for all. Renault Sport’s experts have once again used F1-derived technologies to produce a truly exceptional package of efficient aerodynamics, reliability, road holding and high performance.
“We aim to make New Mégane R.S. the new compact sports car benchmark,” added Patrice Ratti. To meet customer demand, a choice of manual and EDC dual-clutch transmission will be available.
New Mégane R.S. will be unveiled at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany on September 12, before going on sale in the first quarter of 2018.