We were hopeful it would happen (and there's been indications that it would), but that doesn't stem the excitement of learning that Renault's Megane GTI is definitely on its way. UK-based AutoExpress is confirming plans for the GTI and has obtained new illustrations depicting the finished product. Looks like our previously-reported sighting of a hotter Megane Coupe, which we suspected was a special model, seems right on the money.
The striking images show a Megane Coupe that is menacing and purposeful while retaining enough French flair and individuality to differentiate itself from the 'hot-hatch' masses.
Bigger wheels, tyres, and brakes will have no trouble keeping the Megane under control given the new Coupe is lighter than the model it replaces. The GTI is expected to go a step further by utilising lightweight components to shed even more kilos, ensuring an excellent power-to-weight ratio.
Power will come from the the same 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder utilised in the R26 but expect a small boost in output with a total in the 180kWs range. A top speed of over 240km/h and a 0-100 time in the sub six-second bracket should be well within the Megane's reach.
An electronically controlled differential will greatly benefit the GTI's ability to channel its power through the front wheels while the lowered kerb-weight will ensure handling characteristics are excellent.
Not much is known of the interior at this stage but bucket seats and coloured trim with metal inserts is reportedly on the cards. Given the sporty nature of the car, we're expecting the cabin to be a lively affair.
Priced from around ??20,000 when it goes on sale in Europe next year, the Megane GTI will officially debut at the Geneva motor show in March '09. This looks very interesting - we'll keep you posted.