While at first it may seem odd that Renault Sport is at the Nürburgring to test the Megane GT when the car is already available in dealerships, in reality the prototype is actually the range-topping RS. The company with the diamond logo concluded production of the previous-gen, coupe-only model recently, so now it’s channeling its efforts to prepare the next iteration of the performance Megane which will be sold exclusively as a more practical five-door hatch.
Compared to a regular Megane GT, the prototype spotted has beefier wheel arches and a different exhaust system with dual tips mounted in the center. Renault did not bother to change the rear bumper, so the GT’s regular tips are still noticeable. The side profile also reveals the car’s true identity, with the test vehicle featuring a stiffer suspension setup that has reduced the ride height. In addition, the different wheels and Brembo brake calipers for the front axle are additional signs of a full-blown RS model.
While the identity of the engine is not known so far, we are able to observe some wires sticking out of the hood and going inside the cabin through the right-front door. It means Renault Sport was testing the prototype’s engine, be it an upgraded version of the turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder unit or something entirely new. There are some reports indicating the introduction of a 1.8-liter unit with 275 hp set to be shared with the forthcoming production-ready Alpine.
With the Megane GT already featuring four-wheel steering, chances are the hotter derivative will get it as well. It remains a mystery whether the new crown jewel of the Megane IV will stick to a front-wheel-drive layout or it will go AWD like the Ford Focus RS. Another enigma is the gearbox, the seven-speed dual-clutch and/or a manual?
We will have an answer to all of these questions likely in the second half of 2017 since the new Renault Megane RS is expected to go on sale as a 2018MY. We might see it in the metal at the Frankfurt Motor Show in about a year from now.