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Deep joy! The Renault Sport Megane is back! Image by Renault.

Deep joy! The Renault Sport Megane is back!
Renault Sport Megane MkIII has 280hp, four-wheel steer, two chassis set-ups...
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Newer articles featuring 2018 Renault Megane

2018-09-13: Driven: Renault Megane RS 280 Cup
2018-07-19: Megane RS range gets hot Trophy version
2018-05-01: Order books open for RS Megane
2018-01-31: First drive: Renault Megane RS

What's all this about?

Hot hatch fans, rejoice - one of the greatest of its type is back. It's the Renault Sport Megane, otherwise known as the Megane RS, and it's being shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Ooh, excellent! Has it now got 350hp and four-wheel drive?

Nope, it has 280hp and four-wheel steer. The Megane RS has never been about massive power; rather, it has always had a rapier chassis that makes the absolute most of every bend, curve and sinew in the road. The new one uses much of the stuff that made the old Megane RS superb - things like PerfoHub front suspension, hydraulic bump stops, regular Sport and sharper Cup set-ups (the latter getting a Torsen limited-slip front diff), whopping brakes (355mm front discs with Brembo callipers) and specific settings for the springs, dampers and anti-roll bars - but the 4Control four-wheel steering is a new one. It's been used on the Megane GT, the next hottest model down the food chain, and it hasn't met universal appeal. Time to see if it has matured for the RS.

But isn't 280hp a bit weedy nowadays?

Hardly, because the 280hp at 6,000rpm is backed up by 390Nm of torque from 2,400- to 5,000rpm. Renault Sport hasn't revealed any performance stats as yet, although it will say this engine can do around 41mpg with just 155g/km CO2 emissions in the process. But that's not the most interesting fact about the powerplant.

Oh - what is?

It's lost some capacity. The old model's 2.0-litre has gone, replaced by an all-new, direct-injection, four-cylinder 1.8-litre motor. It has a specially designed cylinder heads, larger capacity air filters and a twin-scroll turbo to deliver its punch to the front wheels, via either a six-speed manual or a six-speed Efficient Dual Clutch (EDC) transmission. The latter has paddle shifts and something called Multi-Change Down technology, to allow you to drop a couple of cogs during heavy braking. You probably won't care that driver assist systems, like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot warning and more, will be part of the package. You probably will care that Launch Control is a feature of the Megane RS.

Do you think a Trophy will be coming any time soon?

Think? We know. Renault Sport has already announced that at the end of 2018, a 300hp/400Nm hardcore Megane RS with the Cup chassis and some 19-inch wheels will hit the streets. And we simply can't wait. That's the Megane RS that's likely to make some much more powerful hot hatches look a bit foolish when it comes to driver engagement and fun.

And as to the looks?

Big, fat wheel arches define the Megane RS v3.0, because the tracks are wider front and back - and so is the body as a result, to the tune of 60mm and 45mm respectively. Up front, a wide air intake is bisected by a grey Formula 1-style blade, framed by those 'chequered flag' RS Vision fog lights and topped off with a diamond-pattern radiator grille. Along the flanks run some special skirts, behind the front arches are extractor vents and sitting within said arches will be either 18- or 19-inch wheels. At the back, a body-coloured roof spoiler, a centrally-mounted, 'prismatic' finish exhaust and a whopping diffuser give the car real intent. There's also a new RS logo on the rear hatch, originally seen on the RS17 Formula 1 car, but making its debut on a road-going Renault here. And you can clothe the bodywork in a new colour, which is Volcanic Orange. Traditionalists need not despair, though, as Liquid Yellow continues to be an option for the RS Megane.

Shall we move inside the Renault?

Yes indeed. The 8.7-inch R-Link 2 touchscreen infotainment forms the centre point of the familiar Megane dash, but here we have such racy things as RS-branded bucket seats, a steering wheel with a 12 o'clock marker, plenty of red top-stitching to contrast the charcoal grey ambience, an aluminium gear lever and set of pedals, the choice of carbon fibre weave or Alcantara upholsteries... oh, and the all-important RS button, that allows access to five different driving modes that include Sport and Race. Oh yes.

Matt Robinson - 12 Sep 2017

2018 Renault Megane RS. Image by Renault.2018 Renault Megane RS. Image by Renault.2018 Renault Megane RS. Image by Renault.2018 Renault Megane RS. Image by Renault.2018 Renault Megane RS. Image by Renault.

2018 Renault Megane RS. Image by Renault.2018 Renault Megane RS. Image by Renault.2018 Renault Megane RS. Image by Renault.2018 Renault Megane RS. Image by Renault.2018 Renault Megane RS. Image by Renault.    - Renault road tests
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