2018 Renault Megane RS shows its new best side

renault megane rs leaked image

A FRENCH RenaultSport enthusiasts' website has stumped up a tanatalising taste of how the 2018 Renault Megane RS will shape up when it arrives in Australia sometime in 2018.

Clio RS Concept, a forum dedicated to French-speaking fans of the smallest hot hatch in the Renault line-up, has posted a single image of a side profile of a production-ready Megane RS from what is believed to be deep inside the Dieppe factory.

It's our first decent look at how the rear of the Renault Sport-fettled Megane will look. Noticable are the vents cut into the side of the front guards to help improve airflow around the wheels. As well, there's contrasting wing mirror caps that match the new-look alloy wheels that fill the plumped guards.  

The French car maker this week let slip new information about the highly anticipated, potentially hybrid-powered rival to the likes of the upcoming Honda Civic Type R, Volkswagen Golf GTI and Hyundai i30 N, including that the all-wheel-steer hatch would offer two choices for transmissions.

As well as a six-speed manual, the car maker will offer the “EDC” to the RenaultSport-badged Megane, meaning it will come with an “Efficient Dual Clutch” automatic as an option, widening its appeal among enthusiasts who may prefer the self-shifter for everyday commuting.

2018 Renault Megane RSThe gearbox, combined with paddle shifters that are likely to be fixed to the steering column in Renault tradition instead of hidden behind the spokes of the steering wheel, is believed to be the same seven-speeder that will be used in the Alpine A110 sports coupe due on sale in right-hand-drive markets – but not yet Australia – early next year.

Little is known yet about what will power the Renault Megane RS, although speculation points to the hot hatch also adopting a re-tuned version of the 185/320Nm turbocharged 1.8-litre engine that will power the Alpine A110. The Megane RS will be assembled in the same factory as the A110.

It also means the Megane RS will come with selectable driver modes, including Normal, Sport and Track, which will tweak the stability control, steering and digital dashboard to the driver’s environment, or mood. On EDC versions of the Megane RS, it will also sharpen gearchanges.

Can we expect more of the reborn Alpine to make its way into Renault’s performance hatch? If it does, anticipate upper-spec versions of the Megane RS fitted with lightweight Sabelt one-piece bucket seats, aluminium-hub brake discs and all-aluminium brake calipers that include the parking brake actuator integrated with the design – a claimed world first from Renault.

2018 Renault Megane RSRenault’s latest details of the hot hatch come after a heavily camouflaged version of the new car, wearing the previous-generation model’s chequered flag-inspired daytime running lights, drove a loop of the Monaco grand prix circuit ahead of last weekend’s race with Renault F1 pilot Nico Hulkenberg behind the wheel.

The Renault Megane RS will also carry over some of the thinking from the car maker’s Formula One experience, which should help come the time the French brand starts to think about reclaiming the Nurburgring’s front-drive production car lap record – currently held by the yet-to-go-on-sale Honda Civic Type R.

The Megane RS is expected to have its debut at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show ahead of an international on-sale date of early 2018.

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