For the pleasure of taking home the all-new Renault Megane RS, Australian buyers are confirmed to have to pony up at least $44,490 as the automaker’s local arm have revealed pricing and specification info on their latest flagship performance hatch.
Perhaps no other car commands quite the same level of anticipation from enthusiasts as the next product from Renault Sport. After all, the French firm have, for decades, been supplying the world with some of the most involving front-drive hoon-monkeys on sale. Why should this one be any different?
So far, reception to the performance version of the 4th-generation Renault Megane has been almost overwhelmingly positive in spite of some early speculation that it introduces rawness-sapping new tech and conveniences. While the car is more feature-dense, available only as a five-door, and is indeed powered by a smaller capacity turbocharged petrol engine, there’s little net reduction in fun factor - or so we’ve heard.
The Megane RS 280, as it’s known fully, is scheduled to arrive in Australian showrooms in early 2019, meaning there’s plenty of time to get your name into the order books. Test drives, too, will commence in September and, as before, prospective buyers can choose between the standard Sport suspension or the firmer and racier Cup chassis.
For that $45k starting price, the car’s new 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder produces 205kW and 390Nm - steady across the range - while mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. Meanwhile, the version with a quicker shifting 6-speed EDC dual-clutch transmission will start from $47,490, but can reduce the 0-100km/h sprint time to just 5.8 seconds.
An even more potent Megane RS Trophy, boasting a lightweight treatment and boost to 220kW and 400Nm, is due out later and should be on the cards for an Australian launch.
For added agility, Renault Sport has fitted this new hot Megane with their first all-wheel steer system dubbed 4Control, allowing the car to intelligently alter the angle of the rear wheels to either aid in high speed stability or make the car turn sharper into corners.
The RS 280 Cup, once upgraded, will be more generously endowed in more areas than just its suspension, though as the $1,490 pack also adds multi-material Brembo brakes for increased stopping power and reduced unsprung weight, 19-inch black alloy wheels, and a Torsen mechanical limited slip front differential.
As is the way of the world, each Megane RS 280 will also receive a generous amount of premium appointments such a focused driving machine. Its interior has received an Alcantara treatment, there’s Nappa leather accents on the steering wheel and gear gaiter. There’s also standard LED headlights, an 8.7-inch portrait touchscreen with sat nav, dual-zone climate control, and an 8-speaker Bose stereo.
On the safety front, Renault’s history producing of the world’s first 5-star Euro NCAP vehicles shines through with cruise control, handsfree keycard with automatic locking and welcome function, Easy Park Assist handsfree parking, heated folding electric door mirrors, Hill Start Assist, ESC, ABS, Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), distance warning and automatic emergency braking (AEBS) all coming as standard as well.
Commenting on the upcoming launch of the all-new Megane R.S., Andrew Moore, Managing Director Renault Australia, said: “The all-new Megane R.S. has been designed for people who love cars and are passionate about driving. The previous generation Megane R.S. was an icon and designing a fitting successor was never going to be an easy task.
“Our specialists at Renault Sport have drawn upon the brand’s vast motorsport heritage and the diverse expertise from across the Renault world to design a new vehicle that combines the spirit of previous generation whilst evolving to meet the demands of our modern customers.
“The high level of standard specification announced today – including the availability of an automatic transmission for the first time – combined with the highly competitive price means that the all-new Megane R.S. is poised to shake-up the competitive local hot hatch market.”