What could be the world’s fastest front-wheel-drive production car – a new limited edition version of the Renault Megane RS265 – appears increasingly likely to make it to production.
Renault recently launched its #under8 social media teaser campaign which hints at a new record-breaking version of the Megane RS that is expected to become the world’s fastest front-wheel-drive production car around the famed Nurburgring track in Germany. The car is expected to be fitted with Michelin tyres, Ohlins suspension and an Akrapovic exhaust system (below).
The campaign comes just weeks after Renault’s 2011 record lap time of 8:07.97 of the iconic 20.8-kilometre circuit was smashed by the Seat Leon Cupra 280, which lapped the track in 7:58.44.
Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar told CarAdvice at the launch of the new Renault Clio GT that the company has taken exception to Seat's claim because the car that set the record is not something you can buy off the showroom floor. Renault, he insists, prides itself on the fact you could buy a version of the car that set the record time – the limited edition Megane RS265 Trophy 8:08.
Hocevar said the record-beating run by the Seat Leon Cupra 280 was achieved with the aid of a Performance Pack comprising high-performance brakes, wheels and tyres.
"The important fact is that the 8:08 that went around there [the Nurburgring Nordschleife] was a production car that went on sale. The Seat that went around and lapped that faster time, that's not a production car,” he said.
"I mean, we've got Group N packs that you could pull out of Renault Sport and apply to a Megane and it would be a substantially faster, lighter and more rigid vehicle … but that's not a production car, that's a bespoke motorsport vehicle.
"Whatever time we do, we'll do with a production car that goes on sale. And that was the record that was set previously and I'm pretty confident when they go out and do it again it'll be the same arrangement. Otherwise we may as well be building all sorts of one-off production-based sports vehicles and claiming fastest times."
Hocevar hinted that, as it did with the Megane RS265 8:08 (pictured above), the brand will likely offer a special edition version of the Megane RS265 to mark the occasion of reclaiming the record, which the brand clearly thinks it will do.
"I think that there will be some sort of special edition activity around that … if they're true to form," Hocevar said.
If such a model were to be built, it is highly likely that Renault Australia would offer it – proportionally, the brand’s local arm is one of the most successful sellers of RS models globally, and it has taken every opportunity afforded to it to offer limited edition versions of the RS265 and RS250 before it.
The Renault #under8 campaign is expected to carry on throughout May, with a full reveal of the car due on June 16.
It remains unclear whether the model that is attempting to set the new record will develop any more power than the current RS265 model’s 195kW/360Nm outputs. However, rumours suggest the facelifted record-setting model will be known as the RS270 R, and that it may see significant power jumps to 227kW and 400Nm, with its 0-100km/h time dropping from a claimed 6.0 seconds to 5.6sec. Weight is also rumoured to dip from 1374 kilograms to 1280kg.
However, Hocevar suggested the standard showroom model won’t see any changes to its power outputs or kerb weight.
“There's a bit of speculation around that it might be more, I'm pretty sure that it'll continue to be a 265,” Hocevar said.