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All-New Renault Megane R.S is a ‘Really Special’ Performance Car.

All-New Renault Megane R.S. is ‘Really Special’.

 The current model of the standard Reanult Megane has been on sale since 2015, but we had to wait a lot longer for the Renaultsport (R.S.) model. However, when it finally arrived in 2018, it turned out to be well worth the wait. While the, previous generation, three-door coupe body-style has been replaced by a five-door hatchback, the Megane R.S. has the same mix of ingredients to make it a hot hatch front-runner.

Visually, the Renault Megane R.S. cuts a striking silhouette on the road. It’s squat stance, emphasised by bulging wheel arches, strikes a perfect balance between aggression and refinement, while sporty interior flourishes include an Alcantara steering wheel and deep bucket seats.

A new 1.8-litre direct injection turbo engine, with one of the best torque ratings in the category, is fitted to the new Megane R.S., and is shared with the stunning Alpine A110. The chain-driven timing system boasts reduced CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. Two gearboxes are available – a six-speed manual transmission, and for the first time, a six-speed dual-clutch (EDC) gearbox. The EDC gearbox features gearshift paddles, Multi Change Down and Launch Control for ultimate driving thrills.

My test car was a Megane R.S. 280 EDC (automatic) finished in striking Volcanic Orange paintwork, and really made an impact no matter where I drove – from school children walking past when I was in traffic, to commuters waiting at bus stops, and fellow motorists sharing the roads with me. The glorious ‘racy’ sound from the cars exhaust when in ‘R.S.’ driving mode was spectacular, and left nobody in any doubt as to the ability of this performance car. Standard ‘R.S.’ specification is extremely impressive and includes 18” RS Estoril gun metal grey alloy wheels with grey brake calipers, 60mm wider wings (compared to the standard Renault Megane), custom bumper with Formula 1-style splitter and air extraction system at the front, functional rear diffuser, central exhaust, side sills with flat base effect, R.S. Vision LED lighting signature, rear privacy glass, cruise control, R.S. leather multi-function steering wheel, automatic lights & wipers, hands-free keycard, deadlocking, auto dual-zone climate control, Hill Start Assist, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, electronic parking brake, ‘R-Link 2’ multimedia system with a 7” touchscreen, TomTom Live service with Western European mapping and a four-wheel steering system (4CONTROL), along with many other comfort, convenience and safety features.

Exclusive to the segment, the 4CONTROL technology delivers outstanding agility through tight turns and impressive cornering stability at higher speeds. This electronically controlled set-up features actuators that can turn the rear wheels up to 2.7 degrees in the opposite direction to the front wheels, or up to 1 degree in the same direction – this changeover happens between 60km/h and 100km/h depending on the driving mode chosen at the time. The idea of this set-up is that it boosts agility at low speeds by more quickly pointing the nose of the car at the apex, while also increasing stability and grip when going faster. The independent steering-axis front suspension system has been completely redesigned. Made from light and resistant aluminium, it is more rigid, and offers ultimate composure.

The glorious engine in my test car is capable of a 0-100km/h sprint in, a truly impressive, 6.0-seconds. Thanks to a power rating of 276bhp, and a healthy 390Nm of torque, a top speed of 255km/h is achievable (where permitted). The stopping forces are immense, too, thanks to Brembo front brakes that have grown 15mm over the previous generation R.S. With a kerb weight of 1,407kg, the Megane R.S. can consume as little as 7-litres of petrol for every 100kms driven on a combined driving cycle, while a CO2 emission figure of 158g/km leads to annual road tax of €750.

On the road, the all-new Megane R.S. is blessed with sharp and engaging handling prowess, strong performance, and excellent driving dynamics. Adaptive dampers are fitted as standard, so you can relinquish the stiff ride upon request, and make this R.S. model as comfortable as the standard Megane. The EDC (six-speed dual clutch) transmission in my test car reacted immediately to my every command, and made the car so easy, and enjoyable, to drive.

The cabin of the Megane R.S. is visually identical to that found in the standard Megane, with the exception of sports front seats with alcantara upholstery and red top-stitching, a unique R.S. steering wheel, and aluminium foot pedals. All controls are logically laid out and within easy reach, allowing the driver to concentrate on the road ahead. All of this ensures that the Renault Mégane R.S. 280 is a practical car that could be used every day.

The all-new Renault Megane R.S. is priced from €41,995 (ex-works), while my, EDC-equipped, test car specification is priced from €44,995. With its performance car looks, practicality, and agility, the Renault Megane R.S is a sophisticated hot hatch that is a true contender in its class. This is a ‘Really Special’ offering from Renault. A five-year/200,000km warranty provides genuine peace-of-mind motoring.

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