The more pedestrian variants of the new Renault Megane are set to go on sale in Australia later this year, but enthusiasts holding out for the hotter Megane RS still face a patient wait; the hot hatch is not expected before 2018.
More details of what to expect when it does surface has been revealed, with Renault Sport CEO Patrice Ratti dropping new hints in an interview with Auto Express.
Expect the new model or arrive with a tweaked version of the current car’s 2.0 litre turbocharged engine, this time pushing out close to 225kW, a handy improvement over the 201kW of the current car in its most powerful tune.
As confirmed previously the next Megane RS will retain front-wheel-drive, resisting the move to all-wheel-drive, as seen in the Ford Focus RS, but picking up new handling aids with the Megane GT’s 4Control four-wheel steering system set to appear on the RS.
Ratti’s comments about the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S assuming the bragging rights to the title of fastest front-wheel-drive car around the Nurburgring reaffirm this, with Ratti’s “we'll have to save [a future attempt] for the next Megane, I think", pointing to a front-wheel-drive future.
The future of the manual gearbox was less clear however. As he has done previously, Ratti hinted that he’d like to see a manual version of the new car, with a three-pedal set-up the preference of Renault’s development team, but market forces are instead driving the development of a dual-clutch automatic.
With such a long lead time before the new model makes its debut, there’s also an opportunity for Renault Sport to make further changes before the production car surfaces.
The tight protection of information about the new hot hatch means Renault’s go-fast division may still have some surprises up its sleeve when the new car is revealed in 2018.
Expect an Australian arrival shortly after the international debut. Australia’s high per-capita Renault Sport take-up rate makes the local market a high priority in the French maker's global plans.
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