New £29k hot hatch takes on Civic Type R

New hot hatch from Re­nault Sport has some big shoes to ll. Can it im­prove on the driver ap­peal of its pre­de­ces­sor? On sale June Price from £29,000 (est)

What Car? - - Contents - Will Nightin­gale Will.nightin­gale@hay­mar­

RE­NAULT MUST HAVE a fair idea what Fran­cis Ford Cop­pola felt like when mak­ing The God­fa­ther Part II. Or the pressure Ra­dio­head were under when writ­ing the fol­low-up to OK Com­puter. Yep, in the world of hot hatch­backs, the re­cently de­parted Mé­gane RS was one of the best ever. So, Re­nault’s job of pro­duc­ing its suc­ces­sor must have been daunt­ing.

And here it is: the new Mé­gane RS, a car not with only big boots to fill but also some tal­ented ri­vals vy­ing for its blood. The Honda Civic Type R, our 2018 Hot Hatch of the Year, is at the front of that queue, but Re­nault’s new flag­ship also needs to face down the Ford Fo­cus RS and Hyundai i30n.

Pre­fer your hot hatches fast and fun yet still easy to live with? The reg­u­lar (or Sport) ver­sion of the Mé­gane RS is aimed at you. But if you think hot hatches should be about max­i­mum thrills, what­ever the con­se­quences, then the stiffer, more fo­cused Cup model will ap­peal.

But be­fore we get on to the dif­fer­ences in the range, let’s deal with the one con­stant: the 1.8-litre tur­bocharged petrol en­gine. In ef­fect, it’s the same one that pow­ers the Alpine A110

The RS’S steer­ing wheel is a mix of leather and suede, while red stitch­ing and car­bon bre give the in­te­rior a sporty feel

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