Le Hatch Chaud: New Renault Megane R.S. Debuts; We Want It ""
Posted on: September 19, 2017

2017 Renault Megane RS

European hot-hatch fans rejoice: Renault just unveiled the latest iteration of the Mégane RS. Based on the roughly two-year-old current-gen Mégane hatchback, the RS model returns to represent the automaker in the fiercely contested European sport-compact segment. That means facing off against such storied players as the Volkswagen GTI and the Ford Focus ST, as well as intriguing hot-hatch variants of the Vauxhall Astra, SEAT Léon, Peugeot 308, and other Eurocentric offerings that aren’t available stateside.

The Mégane R.S. is wider (with a wider track to match) than its more civilian counterpart and stylistically is distinguished by its front-end graphics, R.S.-specific 18- and 19-inch wheels, rear diffuser, and trapezoidal center exhaust. A newly available Tonic Orange exterior finish grants its owner extrovert status. The interior features front sport seats with integrated headrests, red stitching, and a choice of fabric or microsuede.

2017 Renault Megane RS

The Megane R.S. will be available for the first time in two versions: Cup and Sport. Both are propelled by a 276-hp turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with direct injection. A full 288 lb-ft of grunt is on hand, delivered to the front wheels via either a six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Renault’s Multi-Sense system provides five driving modes—Comfort, Normal, Sport, Race, and Personal—to fine-tune steering, throttle, and transmission responses. Of particular note is the inclusion of a four-wheel-steering system called 4Control, which is designed to improve agility and cornering stability at speed. Renault claims it’s a first for the segment.

Another unique feature is the use of rally-inspired hydraulic bump stops that assist the Cup version in delivering uncompromising handling while providing a smooth ride for the Sport version.

2017 Renault Megane RS

The infotainment system is said to be more user-friendly than before—for which we admittedly have no baseline—and, in a defining nod to the intended demographic, includes an Expert mode that allows users to connect a camera to the system and record (presumably on-track) video, which can be played back and analyzed before sharing it on social media.

Addressing buyers who might fear that the Renault Mégane R.S. doesn’t have the stones to hang with hatchback brawlers like the Focus RS and the Honda Civic Type R, Renault also is resurrecting the Mégane R.S. Trophy. Set to arrive in late 2018, it will pack the same engine, tweaked to produce in the neighborhood of 296 horsepower, plus a Torsen limited-slip-differential and other chassis revisions.

2017-Renault-Megane-RS-REEL

2017 Frankfurt Auto Show Full Coverage

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