Renault has had some prior experience with using world’s automotive and motorsport spotlight on the Monaco F1 Grand Prix to showcase their latest cars - think back to the Twingo-based Twin'Run and the Clio RS16, both insane in their own way. And over the weekend surrounding the 2017 race around Monte Carlo, Renault brought out their upcoming hot hatch.
Still disguised in a good amount of camouflage, the next RS Megane did a lap of the city circuit piloted by German racer Nico Hulkenberg before it went back to rest in the pit lane. It was part of an ensemble of famous Renault cars, road and track, that lapped the circuit to commemorate Renault’s 40th year in Formula 1.
Patrice Ratti, Managing Director of Renault Sport Cars, said on the Grand Prix preview: “I don’t think we could have chosen a more appropriate or more impactful moment than the 40th anniversary of Renault’s involvement in F1 to launch a new model. We aim to make All-New Mégane R.S. the new compact sports car benchmark.”
Hulkenberg, said on driving the car: “Renault Sport has done a tremendous job on its performance credentials. It was a huge pleasure to drive it around the legendary street track at Monaco today”.
While on the lap, it was plainly obvious that the car driven was equipped with a dual-clutch transmission that Renault had confirmed (will also be offered with a manual transmission), and it was interesting to see the car tackling the tight corners as well as being rung out on the straights, especially through the famous tunnel section.
Skip to 7:48 in the video to get to the bit with the Megane lap.
Hot lap over, with the car parked along the pit area, some photos surfaced on the Megane RS Online page on Facebook got a pretty clear look at the car, with snappers able to get up close to certain exterior details that were obscured somewhat by the distracting wrap pattern. Also, and importantly, the interior was spied entirely undisguised. It keeps most of the amenities of the standard Megane intact, such as the digital instrument cluster screen and 8.7-inch portrait infotainment screen.
Naturally, there’s less plush material spread throughout what little we saw of the cabin, particularly the dashboard and centre console, with a Megane GT-like gear shift knob and steering column shift paddles. Red stitching looks to be used liberally to contrast against the black or dark grey of most of the surfaces, including the Alcantara bucket seats.
There’s also a picture that clearly shows a white Megane RS with its bonnet open on what looks to be a computer screen. The clear lighting, location, and positioning of the car suggest it could be a leaked promotional image.
Renault plans to fully unveil the all-new Megane RS at the upcoming 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.