Renault has launched an all-new generation of its once-benchmark hot hatch, the Megane RS, and along with new styling, it boasts a host of new technology and upgrades designed to send straight to the top of the class.
• The third-generation Megane RS comes with a 1.8-litre direct-injection turbo engine – the most powerful 1.8 on the market, making 206kW and 390Nm from 2400 to 4800rpm, one of the best torque figures in the category. It’ll hit 100km/h in 5.8 seconds, matching the previous-generation RS Trophy.
• Other upgrades to the Renault-Nissan Alliance-developed powertrain include a twin-air inlet in the turbocharger and a new cylinder head design incorporating a new cooling system, located next to the combustion chamber. The exhaust system has also been revised, offering more efficiency and more of the snap, crackle and pop we like so much.
• Where the old Megane RS was only available with a manual, the new version also offers a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The shift pattern varies depending on which drive mode is chosen – Normal, Personal, Comfort, Sport or Race.
• In Race, the ESC is completely disabled and the four-wheel steering system changes its switchover point, the point where the rear wheels switch from steering in the opposite direction to the fronts, from 60km/h to 100km/h.
• One of the car’s highlights is that segment-first four-wheel steering system. Renault’s engineers started with a clean sheet for the four-wheel steering system on the RS. At high speed the front and rear wheels turn in the same direction, limited to a 1.0 degree of rotation for the rear axle. At low speeds the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to a maximum angle of 2.7 degrees, resulting in noticeably more precise steering.
• The other new piece of dynamic tech is the hydraulic compression stops on all four shock absorbers, derived from Renault’s experience in the rally world. Essentially, it’s a ‘shock absorber within a shock absorber’ for improved ride and stability on bumpy roads. This feature was developed as a direct result of customer feedback.
• The new RS also gets a revised independent steering axis front suspension system, with a 2.0 per cent reduction in negative offset geometry – the distance between the wheel centre and the steering axis – compared with a standard Megane. The result is a more rigid front axle, reducing the effects of torque surge under acceleration
• The brakes on the latest Megane RS have been improved over its predecessor, with larger discs (up 15mm) and a more progressive brake pedal.
• In addition to the easy-to-live-with sport chassis, buyers can also option the ‘Cup’ pack alongside the manual transmission. Specific modifications include 10 per cent stiffer suspension, a Torsen limited-slip differential, and more efficient brakes with better cooling.
• There’s also a lighting system first introduced on the Clio RS. RS Vision involves three separate lighting configurations: cornering lights activated on bends up to 40km/h and fog lights, high-beam lights, or high-beam combined with fog lights. The high-beam has range of 400 metres – 17 per cent better than the previous car.
• Inside, the RS Monitor system has been redesigned. It gathers information from about 40 sensors around the vehicle and lets users view real-time data on the central touchscreen. That’s information relating to acceleration, braking, steering angle and how the four-wheel steer system is working.
• There’s also launch control and multi-change downshifts, which works by pulling the left-hand paddle and holding it under heavy braking into a corner. The system automatically shifts the correct gear for the quickest corner exit.
• Safety kit inherited from new Renault Megane includes hands-free parking, blind-spot warning, autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. There’s also an optional Bose sound system, after feedback from owners of the previous Megane RS.
There's a lot to like about the new Megane RS, arsenal of go-fast tech and a brand new cockpit aside. It's a more mature car offering greater versatility and choice that should suit a wider group of buyers.
Check out the review here.