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Hot Hatchback Returns

Renault South Africa is set to shake up the performance hatchback market with one of the most capable and convincing entrants yet – the scintillating new Mégane Renault Sport.

It takes a true connoisseur to appreciate a car that has been developed by people who share the same passion for taking an already great car, and turning it into the ultimate driving experience. This kind of car has to have style, performance – and street credibility.

As the latest in a long line of award-winning sporting models, the new Mégane RS continues the proud legacy of exhilarating cars produced by Renault Sport Technologies, the company’s highly revered performance division.

“The exciting new Mégane RS is the flag bearer of the Renault Sport range, and represents the pinnacle of the brand’s sporting identity,” says Renault SA managing director, Xavier Gobille.

“It combines the latest in design and technology, much of which is entirely new to this segment. The Mégane RS also offers the unique proposition of the Sport chassis for everyday driving, or the exceptional CUP chassis, which is targeted at the true sports car enthusiast.”

Design

The new Mégane RS boasts an undeniably sporty and provocative appearance that expresses a clear and undisputed motorsport heritage.

Based on the streamlined Mégane Coupé, the car’s sweeping lines are blended with focussed, performance-oriented styling revisions, including extended wheel arches to accommodate the lightweight 18-inch alloy wheels in the case of the Sport model, or the stunning 19-inch flow-formed Speedline wheels featured on the CUP version.

The muscular stance is further accentuated by the broad, aggressive air intake and familiar RS gloss black finish of the front bumper, complemented by a Formula 1-style aerodynamic blade, along with striking LED daytime running lights on the outer edges.

The coupé’s sporting intent is given further credence at the rear, where a central exhaust tailpipe, diffuser and lip spoiler take pride of place, reaffirming the Mégane’s sporting credentials.

The final pièce de résistance is an invigorating choice of colours, including the visceral matt Sport Yellow, along with Extreme Blue, Pearl Black, Glacier White, Mercury Silver, Oyster Grey and Capsicum Red.

The sense of vibrancy extends equally to the interior, which features a dark carbon trim that contrasts with the Sport Yellow treatment for the rev counter background and the stitching on the leather-trimmed steering wheel.

In line with its high-performance intention, the Mégane RS Sport version boasts Renault Sport leather seats, while the more focussed ‘CUP’ model gains even more supportive leather-trimmed Recaro seats – the latter incorporating integral side airbags and competition harness slots.

The vibrant interior is rounded off by an aluminium-faced footrest and pedals, along with Renault Sport badging on the door sills, headrests, rev counter and dashboard trim.

Drive train and Performance

One of the new Mégane Renault Sport’s main highlights is the new-generation, Euro 5-compliant 2,0-litre turbocharged engine. Although based on the powerplant employed in the previous Mégane F1 Team R26, the 16-valve engine has been extensively revised.

As the creator of the turbo engine, Renault Sport’s innovation and technological prowess has led to the creation of the Mégane Renault Sport 2.0 turbo power plant – engineered to perform. Its 184 kW output says it all.

The key differences include the use of a twin-scroll turbocharger for enhanced response at low revs, together with the application of continuously variable valve timing and revised fuel injection mapping. Additionally, more than 25 percent of the engine components are new.

The result is an exhilarating 184 kW of maximum power at 5 500 r/min, matched to 340 Nm of torque at 3 000 r/min. Notably, a full 80 percent of peak torque is available from as low as

1 900 r/min, providing smooth acceleration and greater responsiveness.

The new Mégane RS employs a six-speed manual gearbox equipped with taller ratios, increased shift precision and a sportier feel, compared to the standard version. This enables the engine’s full performance to be exploited.

The performance figures confirm this. The Mégane RS delivers an exceptional 0-100 km/h sprint time of just 6,1 sec, while the standing 1 000 m start is covered in a scorching 25,7 seconds. Top speed is limited to 250 km/h.

The Mégane RS returns class-leading fuel economy for this level of power, with a combined fuel consumption figure of just 8,4 l/100 km, and an equivalent to CO2 exhaust emissions rating of 195 g/km.

The RS derivative is equipped with Power Start, a system designed to optimise standing start performance, making the most of the car’s acceleration without grip being lost.

Much work has also gone into developing the acoustic character of the two-litre turbocharged engine to produce a telltale sporty pitch audible inside the cabin under acceleration, thus further enhancing the driving experience.

Chassis and suspension

The new Renault Mégane RS uses the most advanced version yet of the Renault Sport Performance Hub, an independent steering axis front suspension. This arrangement ensures the stability of the front suspension under hard acceleration or when applying a significant amount of steering lock, thus eliminating torque steer.

For optimal directional precision, the independent front suspension is attached to a so-called ‘horned’ subframe which ensures a level of transverse rigidity three times superior to that of the Mégane II RS.

Additionally, compared to the standard Mégane Coupé, the damper housing and shaft diameters have been uprated, doubling the stiffness of the strut and maintaining the wheel geometry under load.

The programmed-deflection torsion beam set-up at the rear uses a new closed-profile beam that provides the same level of stiffness, while reducing the overall mass.

In response to customer demand, the new Mégane RS is available with a choice of two chassis configurations.

The Sport chassis delivers the ideal balance between sports performance and everyday driving comfort. With the suspension lowered by 10 mm while employing uprated damper and spring ratings, its anti-roll performance is improved by 12,5 percent over the standard Mégane Coupé.

However, the CUP chassis, with its limited-slip differential raises the bar to new heights, and is aimed at enthusiasts who enjoy distinctly sporty driving, as well as those that participate in track days.

Compared to the Sport chassis, the anti-roll stiffness is increased by a further 13 percent, thanks to a thicker anti-roll bar in front, matched to a 7 percent stiffer set-up at the rear. The dampers are specific to the CUP too, and overall anti-roll stiffness increases by 15 percent over the Sport chassis.

Further bolstering the car’s competition-type performance is the fitment of a limited slip differential, which ensures optimum traction at all times. The combination of the LSD and the independent steering axis front suspension minimises torque steer, while enabling the driver to profit fully from the extra traction and greater stability under braking.

Additionally, where the Sport chassis features 18-inch wheels and 235/40 R18 tyres, the CUP is available exclusively with stunning 19-inch Speedline flow-formed rims, matched to 235/35 R19 tyres.

Braking performance is similarly exceptional, employing four-pot Brembo brake callipers combined with 340 mm ventilated discs in front – the largest available in the hot hatch segment. The rear brakes feature 290 mm discs. In the case of the Mégane RS CUP, the discs are grooved and the callipers painted red.

The Mégane’s electric power steering system has also been recalibrated to suit the new model’s sportier calling. It delivers more precise feedback, with a progressive increase in turning effort into corners, as well as enhanced comfort and control through turns.

High – Tech enhancements

A prominent new feature of the Mégane RS is the Renault Sport Dynamic Management three-mode ESP system, which allows the driver to choose the degree of electronic aid required in different situations, in three stages. This includes the default ‘On’ mode, ‘Sport’ for less intrusive ESP action, and ‘Off’ for ultimate driver control.

Another unprecedented new feature for the class is the Renault Sport Monitor, an advanced tool fitted as standard to the Mégane RS CUP version.

It displays a useful array of real-time data, such as power, torque and turbo pressure, transverse and longitudinal acceleration, as well as a stopwatch with a lap timer, and key performance data such as 0-100 km/h, 400-metre and 1-km standing start times.

The RS Monitor also enables the driver to modify the accelerator pedal mapping. A choice of five settings is available with the ‘Sport’ mode selected: linear, normal, snow, sport and extreme.

Equipment

The Mégane RS Sport version is aimed a buyer that demands an equal measure of sporting appeal and sophistication. Accordingly, it boasts a high level of standard specification.

The list includes Renault’s much-praised integrated Carminat TomTom navigation system, and the powerful Arkamys 3D Sound audio system. The system is MP3-compatible and also provides Bluetooth audio streaming and cellphone integration, as well as the ‘Connection Box’ that enables various means of connecting personal audio devices.

The CUP version is clearly designed for avid enthusiast drivers, and boasts a more performance-oriented configuration. Along with the CUP chassis, LS diff, Recaro leather seats and 19-inch alloy wheels, it gains the innovative Renault Sports Monitor, and uses a more conventional 4×15W Radio CD with Bluetooth and MP3 connection.

Both models are equipped with full climate control, LED daytime running lights, as well as the Renault Keyless Card. Various styling, trim and functional options are also on offer.

Pricing

Mégane RS Sport R349 900

Mégane RS CUP R399 900

A five-year/100 000 km Service Plan is included in the purchase price, along with Renault’s comprehensive five-year/150 000 km warranty, backed by Renault Confiance that offers ultimate peace-of-mind motoring. Service intervals are every 10 000 km.

 

 

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