The latest Renault Megane RS to drop locally has very big shoes to fill if it's to come anywhere near the success of its much-lauded second-generation predecessor, which saw Australia ranked number three in global sales.
It's clearly a crucial model for the French carmaker both globally and in Australia for more than just sales numbers, according to local Renault CEO, Andrew Moore, who spoke with CarAdvice at the Australian launch recently.
“This a brand halo for Renault with such a legion of fans and won’t those folks back and excited about Renault and trying the new version with all the benefits it brings to the market," he said.
“The key feedback from owners and prospective buyers of the last generation were the limitations of a three-door and manual only spec that limited the car as a daily drive – meaning it pretty-much sold to purists exclusively."
“This new model lacks nothing from an enthusiast’s perspective, in fact, it goes up in power and tech, and with the new Sport chassis and dual-clutch auto option we’ve got much more of a daily driver which could easily widen our market for this car," he added.
Price-wise the new Megane RS kicks off around three grand more than a Volkswagen Golf GTI, but arguably gets more kit and is much closer to the Golf R in outright performance, though that car wears a considerably higher price tag.
“We clearly see ourselves above the Golf GTI – I mean, we’re talking 205kW verses 169kW, so with Megane RS, we’re a lot closer to the Golf R. In fact, what we’d like is for Golf GTI owners to take a look at the RS and consider the benefits of a lot higher performance for marginally more investment, “ Moore added.
And, Renault also have the top-dog Megane RS Trophy they’ll be dropping in June 2019 which is expected make around 224kW and 420Nm through a choice of six-speed manual or dual-clutch auto transmissions, along with the ‘Cup’ chassis exclusively and stickier Bridgestone rubber.
When asked what the ratio of sales between Sport and Cup chassis might be, Moore said that early indications were favouring the less-focused Sport set-up.
“At the moment, we’ve only got between 35 and 40 per cent of forward orders and funnily enough the dealers have ordered around the same percentages of the Cup chassis and 60 per cent Sport, but that’s the dealer take at this stage,” he concluded.