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Renault Megane RS: Radical Hot Hatch

By Feann Torr - 25/March/2009

Renault Megane RS
Renault Megane RS

Renault Megane RS
Is the Renault Megane RS 250 an inspired design
or a blob-like mess? Let us know with the Mailbox

Pint-Sized Performance

If you can't wait for the traffic-stopping Megane sports coupe to arrive later in 2010, Renault will be bringing just 40 versions of the Barina-sized Clio Renault Sport 197 F1 Team R27 into Australia for about $40-large.

Powered by a non-turbo 2.0-litre engine that revs to 7250rpm and makes 145kW, it's a 4-pot screamer that hints at what's to come from the dynamic 2010 model Megane RS.

- Feann Torr, Editor

Renault Megane RS
The Renault Megane RS 250 is expected
to arrive on Australian shores late in 2010

Paris, France Exotic cars from marques such as Ferrari, Koenigsegg and Aston Martin attract car enthusiasts like moths to a flame. 

Yet these ultra-high performance cars are so ludicrously expensive to buy, let alone maintain, that only the wealthiest of society's drivers will ever get a chance to sit behind the wheel of such thoroughbred machines.

But premium hot hatches on the other hand are within reach of the everyman and are beginning to deliver the kind of head-turning looks that were once the reserve of fantasy cars.

Case in point: the new Megane RenaultSport 250, or Megane RS for short.

The new generation VW Golf GTI may be making a lot of noise at the moment, but this French contender is the darkhorse, capable of bruising the GTI's ego.

Making its debut at the recent motor show in Geneva, the Megane RS shows off a look that has the potential to change the way hot hatches are perceived.

Love or it hate it, the design pushes the boundaries of the hot hatch genre.

Designed in Paris, France, Renault's high performance Megane shows off a muscular design with an attention to detail normally found on the kind of high-end machinery currently being repossessed by debt collectors.

Take the rear end design as an example. 

The finer details add eye candy - the centrally-mounted exhaust outlet, the integrated diffuser, the square indicator bezels - but the overall form is where the car gets it's visual appeal.

Porsche pioneered the art of hiding motor sports-inspired hardware beneath voluptuous curves. Though not quite to the same extreme, the Renault RS 250 achieves a similar outcome.

The design of the Megane RS's tail end certainly has a few curves and the pumped wheel arches and rounded roofline create a compelling image.

Even the colour of the Renault Megane RS 250, pictured here in white, with its contrasting black wheels suggests that someone with half a clue was behind the decision making process.

It's a sleek design that I personally can't wait to see here in Australia and though it's likely to only sell in small-ish numbers, it will be keenly anticipated by informed enthusiasts.

Renault Australia's marketing communications manager Craig Smith confirmed that his team expects to bring the Renault Megane RS 250 to Australia, saying "We will work toward getting the car here."

However Mr Smith said it was far too early to say when exactly when the vehicle would arrive. The car won't be on sale in Europe until October, so allocating its annual supply for export market will take time.

Trend-setting design aside, the Renault Megane RS will be a strong performer.

The last time we tested a turbocharged Renault Megane RS was in April 2007 and I have clear memories of just how rewarding it was to punt that car hard and fast. At the time no other hot hatch offered Brembo brakes or smoked up the front wheels with such panache.

Back then the model on offer was the Renault Megane RS 225, which output 165kW @ 5500rpm and 300Nm @ 3000rpm, gifting the vehicle with a 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.15 seconds.

The new 2010 Megane RS 250 gets more power, more gadgets and more must-have performance assets - like a limited slip diff and daytime LED running lights. Audi will be stoked.

Battles with the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST/XR5 Turbo will be keenly observed, and with more herbs in its 2.0-litre turbocharged, intercooled 4-cylinder engine, the Renault Megane RS 250 is emerging as a front-runner.

Power has risen by 19 kilowatts and 40Nm and should give the Renault a Mazda3 MPS-rivalling 6.0 second woah-to-go sprint time.

Max Power: 184kW @ 5500rpm
Max Torque: 340Nm @ 3000rpm
Max Speed: 245km/h (approx)
0-100km/h: 6.0 seconds (approx)

Like all proper performance cars, the French hot hatch makes use of a 6-speed manual transmission that puts power to the ground via the front-wheels. 

A specially tuned ESP system can be switched off for track work or late night shenanigans, and two stages of suspension tune will be offered: standard sport and bone-rattling Cup chassis'.

The Renault Megane RS 250's interior will be tricked out with a range of fancy-pants features, including sports alloy pedals, bucket leather seats, a motor sports-inspired steering wheel with thumb grips (yes thumb grips) and my favourite, an in-your-face tachometer with audio and visual gearshift warnings. Bring it on.

Related Links:
Renault Megane Coupe (2009)
- Renault Megane Leaked (2009)
Renault Megane RS 225 (Road Test)
Renault Sherpa (2008)
Renault Laguna (2008)
Renault Koleos (2008)
Renault Sport Clio 182 Cup (Road Test)
Renault R27 F1 Race Car (2007)
Renault Mégane F1 Team R26 (2007)
Renault Twingo (concept)

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