The previous Renault Megane RS models were among the best-driving hot hatchbacks on sale, so this new one has a lot to live up to. Luckily, it more than delivers. Racing car-like styling matches the performance on offer, as the Megane RS now offers 277hp – which puts it above the VW Golf GTI and Hyundai i30 N. But outright power has never been the Megane’s focus, and the handling is once again sublime on whichever chassis you choose. This new car also brings a trick that’s a first for this bracket: rear-wheel steering.
The Renault Megane RS is available with two chassis and suspension options. Sport is the standard option, and is designed to provide unmatched handling prowess and unbelievable comfort. Hydraulic compression stops absorb shocks to aid performance, control and the ride quality. For a slightly more hardcore option, choose the Cup chassis and the limited slip differential.
Pinched from the Renaultsport motorsport division, the four-wheel steering is a technological advancement that has never been included on a hot hatch before. At speeds below 37mph (or 62mph in ‘Race’ mode), the rear wheels turn the opposite direction to the fronts by a few degrees, improving agility and poise. Above these speeds, the wheels turn in the same direction to increase the car’s stability and speed.
A few motorsport-inspired touches mark this car out as the fast Megane. There are new diamond grilles at the front with RS badging and chequered flag fog lights, and the rear gets a new spoiler, huge centrally mounted exhaust pipe and a large diffuser to channel airflow and help cornering speed. You might’ve also noticed the side vents and alloy wheels, which are available in 18-inch and 19-inch sizes. Exclusive paint colours are on offer, such as this Volcanic Orange.
With 277hp on tap and the choice of manual and automatic gearboxes, the performance backs up the looks. Choose the EDC automatic and you will even get launch control, for the perfect start every time.
The full-blooded RS character is reiterated inside the cabin. The seats are finished in suede-like Alcantara – just like a racing car – and embossed with the Renaultsport logo. They provide both comfort and support. You will also appreciate the red stitching, short-throw gearbox (on manual cars), an Alcantara dashboard and aluminium sports pedals. The RS builds on the sophisticated and well-built Megane interior, which can include a portrait 8.7-inch touchscreen and rear-view parking camera.
Renault has revealed an even hotter version of the Megane RS. Called the Trophy, it packs 300hp and a whole load of extra performance features. Unique 19-inch alloy wheels are fitted around strong bi-material brakes, which reduce weight and brake fade. Sportier Recaro-branded Alcantara bucket seats are fitted 200mm lower, and the tyres are sticky Bridgestone Potenza S001s. You can order the Trophy from autumn 2018; deliveries will start in the winter. Read more about the Renault Megane RS Trophy here.