Per­former has a sharp fo­cus on con­trol

NEW MOD­ELS/ Re­nault has launched its new Me­gane RS in SA to take on the es­tab­lished hot-hatch mar­ket

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Mo­tor News Re­porter

Re­nault Sport en­thu­si­asts have been look­ing for­ward to the ar­rival of the lat­est Me­gane RS in SA and fi­nally the wait is over. The com­pany launched its new mis­sile this week and, after we drove it ear­lier in 2018, Ler­ato found it to be less the pure en­thu­si­ast’s car and more of an all-rounder.

Driven by de­sign and fo­cused on per­for­mance, Re­nault says the lat­est gen­er­a­tion makes no at­tempt to hide its motorsport pedi­gree, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to driv­ing dy­nam­ics on the road and on the track.

De­sign and engi­neer­ing el­e­ments in­clude the fact that the side wings have been widened by 60mm at the front and 45mm at the back (in com­par­i­son to the Me­gane GT). With the ride height low­ered by 5mm com­pared with the GT and new 18- or 19inch wheels, th­ese new pro­por­tions make the car ap­pear more ag­gres­sive.

In ad­di­tion, there are wing­mounted air ex­trac­tors, which op­ti­mise air flow through the wheel arches and the side sills es­tab­lish a link be­tween the front and the rear, the black blade of which evokes the un­der­tray of a For­mula 1 car.

There is a re­designed, nar­rower rear spoiler that has been en­gi­neered to im­prove aero­dy­namic per­for­mance and the rear bumper fea­tures a built-in dif­fuser and cen­tral ex­haust.


“After hav­ing been in­volved in the de­vel­op­ment process in 2017, I’m proud to be the am­bas­sador for Re­nault Me­gane RS,” says Nico Hülken­berg, Re­nault Sport F1 driver and Re­nault Sports Cars am­bas­sador.

“I had the op­por­tu­nity to drive the car at var­i­ous race­tracks — Monaco, Montl­héry and Spa-Francorchamps — and I was im­pressed by the ef­fi­ciency of the lat­est on­board tech­nolo­gies. The 4Control sys­tem is a dream come true for ev­ery driver look­ing for ef­fi­ciency, since it im­proves the agility and the sta­bil­ity of the car. It’s a shame that four-wheel steer­ing sys­tems are banned in For­mula 1.”

We have ex­pe­ri­enced that 4Control sys­tem on the Me­gane GT that we had in our long-term fleet and it is no gim­mick, pro­vid­ing much tighter turn-in when the bends beckon. It is an el­e­ment Re­nault clearly thinks gives the Me­gane RS an edge.

“We’re proud to have man­aged to pro­duce a car with im­proved cor­ner­ing ef­fi­ciency, largely due to the in­tro­duc­tion of 4Control,” says Pa­trice Ratti, MD, Re­nault Sport Cars. “The sys­tem im­proves agility on tight cor­ners and sta­bil­ity on fast bends, on the road and on the track. Draw­ing on the brand’s vast motorsport her­itage, the new Re­nault Me­gane RS has been de­signed by peo­ple who are pas­sion­ate about cars for peo­ple who love to drive. Its ver­sa­til­ity also makes it per­fectly suited to ev­ery­day use.”

At low speeds, the rear wheels turn in the op­po­site di­rec­tion to the front wheels, up to a max­i­mum an­gle of 2.7°. The 4Control sys­tem comes into its own on twisty, wind­ing roads, the 20% more di­rect steer­ing de­liv­er­ing in­ci­sive han­dling. Re­nault says the set­tings cho­sen de­liver bet­ter en­try on cor­ners and a “play­ful” side that is un­prece­dented on a front-wheel drive car.

De­pend­ing on how play­ful you want your Me­gane to be, there are two chas­sis op­tions: Sport and Cup, al­low­ing for two types of han­dling, thanks to the spe­cific sus­pen­sion set­tings (springs, shock ab­sorbers, stops and anti-roll bar stiff­ness).

Re­nault says the Sport chas­sis pro­vides new ver­sa­til­ity on all types of sur­face, in­clud­ing the poor­est qual­ity and most un­even roads.

It comes with new shock ab­sorbers and an elec­tron­i­cal­ly­con­trolled torque dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem. By act­ing in­de­pen­dently on the drive-wheel brakes, this tech­nol­ogy lim­its un­der­steer and im­proves trac­tion when ex­it­ing cor­ners.

Suited to in­tense sports-style use and es­pe­cially to driv­ing on race­tracks, the Cup chas­sis of­fers a 10% stiffer damper sys­tem and a new Torsen me­chan­i­cal, lim­ited slip dif­fer­en­tial.

The en­gine is a new ver­sion of the 1.8l di­rect in­jec­tion turbo unit, de­rived from syn­er­gies with the Re­nault-Nis­san Al­liance. It de­vel­ops 205kW at 6,000r/min and a peak torque of 390Nm avail­able from 2,400 to 4,800r/min through ei­ther a man­ual or EDC gear­box, de­pend­ing on whether you opt for the Sport or Lux de­riv­a­tives, the lat­ter only be­ing avail­able in SA from Novem­ber.


To achieve the re­quired per­for­mances, Re­nault Sport’s en­gine spe­cial­ists de­signed a new cylin­der head, with a re­in­forced struc­ture and more ef­fi­cient cool­ing that dis­si­pates heat next to the com­bus­tion cham­ber. The de­sign was en­trusted to a task force made up of spe­cial­ists from Re­nault Sport Cars, Re­nault Sport Rac­ing and the Re­nault Tech­no­cen­tre1.

Strangely, and after check­ing a few times, the info re­leased by Re­nault on its new hot hatch did not men­tion any per­for­mance fig­ures, dwelling in­stead on the 4Control, the in­te­rior ap­point­ments and the LED light­ing. Of course, we know you want the per­for­mance numbers. so the new RS is claimed to hit 100km/h in 5.8 sec­onds and a top speed of 250km/h.

The Sport ver­sion is avail­able from Septem­ber at R549,900 and the Lux de­riv­a­tive will be the same when it is re­leased in SA in Novem­ber 2018.

Top: The new Me­gane RS is a strik­ing ad­di­tion to the hot hatch seg­ment. Above: The rear fea­tures a cen­tral ex­haust that has be­come a de­sign fea­ture of the model.

The in­te­rior gets the RS treat­ment but with a lit­tle more com­fort and tech­nol­ogy than RS own­ers are used to.

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