Two gearboxes, two engine outputs, two chassis options, and four-wheel steering.
The battle of hot hatches is heating up with the introducing of the next-generation Megane RS. Available only in five-door form as opposed to its coupe-only predecessor, the latest product to come from Renault Sport will not only have to fight the VW Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST, and the Peugeot 308 GTi as usual, but also the new kid on the block: the Hyundai i30 N. The performance Megane does have an ace up its sleeve if we take into consideration it’s the only one to feature four-wheel steering to make it more nimble while being push hard through the corners.
At the same time, it’s also very flexible when it comes down to choosing your preferred configuration as there are plenty of options to choose from. For example, it’s the first Megane RS to be available with a choice between two gearboxes, a standard six-speed manual and an optional dual-clutch automatic with the same number of gears.
The video documentary released this week by Renault speaks about the car’s inception, with a focus on its design and the technical specifications. Another highlight of the 2018 Megane RS is represented by the hydraulic compression stops within the shock absorbers at both front and rear axles to provide extra damping. The technology has been adapted from rally cars and corroborated with 4Control will boost grip and stability at all times.
As the video explains, the 4Control - which is also standard on the Megane GT - works in two different ways depending on the car’s velocity. At speeds of up to 60 kph (37 mph), the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction of the front wheels while at speeds above and up to 250 kph (155 mph), all four wheels turn in the same direction.
At the heart of the new Megane RS is a turbocharged 1.8-liter gasoline engine first seen in the gorgeous Alpine A110. In the base version set to go on sale early next year, the four-cylinder unit will push out 280 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 390 Newton-meters (288 pound-feet) of torque from 2,400 rpm. Towards the end of 2018, the hardcore Trophy version will be introduced and it will up the power ante to 300 hp and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft). The range topper will also benefit from the Cup chassis and larger 19-inch wheels as standard equipment.
Will Renault attempt to reclaim the lap record for the fastest front-wheel-drive production car on the Nürburgring? It’s too early to say. If so, logic tells us it will do it with the Trophy version, which will have to beat the Honda Civic Type R by lapping the Green Hell in less than 7 minutes and 43.8 seconds.