Renault Australia has announced pricing for its all-new Megane RS 280 hot hatch will begin at around $45,000 when it goes on sale in the third quarter of this year.
For the 1st time there will be a choice of manual or six-speed double-clutch auto with flappy paddles
Facing off stiff competition like the Honda Civic Type R, Peugeot 308 GTi 270 and soon-to-launch Hyundai i30 N — the new Megane is poised to regain the ultimate hot hatch crown.
Renault Australia plans to price the Megane RS at about $45,000 for the six-speed manual version and $47,500 with the six-speed auto the company calls EDC (efficient dual clutch).
Both variants are powered by a new 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbo. It delivers 205kW, a healthy 36kW more than the Golf GTI.
Renault also developed electric rear-wheel steering for the Megane RS, a feature it says is unique in the hot-hatch class. This feature was first seen on the Laguna GT in 2008 where it was reported BMW bought the very first example. We assume this wasn’t for their staff car.
The RS’s rear-wheel steering — Renault labels the tech 4Control — makes it feel very agile. It turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front wheels at under 60km/h but in the same direction as the fronts above that speed, which aids stability.
Switching to the car’s Race mode increases the switchover speed to 100km/h. Sensitive drivers may find this feels as if the rear of the Renault is sliding at higher speeds but in its other driving modes the Megane RS simply seems to steer very sharply … just as a hot hatch should.
Ride comfort is outstanding for something that steers, brakes and corners like the Megane RS. Its shock absorbers have built-in hydraulic bump stops — an idea first developed for rally cars — and they work well, blunting even the sharpest road shocks.
Hunkered down on its big wheels, this Renault looks seriously speedy but not stupidly impractical. Renault expects sales of the new Megane RS, now with auto and five doors, to easily outstrip the three-door manual it replaces.
Let’s see; I personally adore the Megane III’s sweeping styling but I think the Meg 4 will grow on me.
Pasts the fist test
The Megane’s rear view highlights the double piped box shaped exhaust. The mechanical soundtrack is reported as being exceptional.
In 2019 the Megane RS range will expand. The Trophy model will come with an even more powerful 220kW engine, firmer Cup chassis instead of the launch version’s Sport set-up, a limited-slip differential and upgraded brakes. These will add thousands to the prices.
PRICE From $45,000 (est)
SAFETY 5 stars
ENGINE 1.8-litre 4-cyl turbo, 205kW/390Nm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed dual-clutch auto, FWD
SPARE None; inflation kit
0-100KM/H 5.8 secs