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Brand New Renault Megane

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Steane Klose | Jul 23, 2008

You can’t accuse Renault of being wallflowers when it comes to hot hatches. They may look a little ‘unusual’ but the reputation this manufacturer enjoys (and is building on) in the hot hatch arena is one to be envied.

Not content with the ‘standard’ Megane F1 Team R26 - a stonking hot-hatch in its own right - Renault have upped-the-ante and introduced the Megane R26.R, a hot-hatch built for the track-day junkie. Based on the R26 and using the same engine, gearbox and LSD, the R26.R has undergone a crash diet and dropped a whopping 123kg.

2008_renault_meganeRS_R-1

Renault achieved the drastic weight loss by ditching anything that wasn’t considered vital to the performance of the Megane. Out went the rear seats and belts, all airbags (excepting the drivers), the rear wiper-washer, foglamps, headlamp washers and most of the soundproofing. Manual climate control air-con is retained but you can no longer option the auto system – it weighs too much. A carbon fibre bonnet and polycarbonate rear window and quarterlights, in conjunction with carbon fibre seat shells and an optional titanium exhaust system, round out the weight saving measures.

The result is a hot hatch that will lap the Nurburgring in 8m 17s!

Inside the stripped out cabin, it is all business. Leather and suede have been used to cover the steering wheel and gearshift bellows. Sabelt bucket seats and aviation-style six-point harnesses are the dominating features. A numbered plaque is fixed to the centre console and the numbering system will be specific to the markets into which the R26.R will be sold.

2008_renault_meganeRS_R

The chassis is just as hard-core as the weight loss measures. Sping rates and damper calibration have all been reviewed and the compromise removed. One of the bushes between the lower arm and front subframe has been stiffened and the brake discs are grooved not cross drilled and according to Renault “combine bite with fade-free durability”. The front LSD is carried over from the R26 unchanged.

The Megane R26.R is a limited edition model that will be manufactured at the Alpine Renault factory in Dieppe, France. Total production has been restricted to just 450 cars with the first cars expected to go on sale in October this year.

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