Renault Mégane RS: French for ‘fast, fun, and feisty’

Renault Megane RS 4 (Renault Group)
(Photos: Renault Group)
Hurtling at well north of 200km/h before the Dubai Autodrome’s high speed straight crests and dips into a steep gradient is a pulse-raising thrill, only heightened by that morning’s earlier light drizzle. With curt downshifts executed via steering-mounted paddle-shifters, the Renault Megan RS’ fade-resistant brakes, however, provide reassurance in direct proportion to speed shed, as the run-off and curved embankment grow swiftly nearer.اضافة اعلان

Crisply entering the tight but fast 180-degree corner at the base of the descent, the Mégane RS carries its 1,430kg weight and speed — now hovering at highway speeds — with confidence and control. With an impression of the onset of a lurid tail slide, the RS’ new four-wheel-steering instead provides greater stability and agility as it heroically clings through the demanding, dipped and carousel-like corner.

The “garden variety” version of the Nürburgring Nordschleife front-wheel-drive record-setting Renault Mégane RS Trophy, the regular road-going RS hot hatch is meanwhile not just quicker and more nimble than its predecessor, but also more practical and spacious, with a five-door body rather than three. An accessible daily performance hatch developed by the French manufacturer’s RenaultSport division, the current Mégane RS is the most efficient and advanced yet, but might be the last.

The Renault Megan RS is possibly the final authentic petrol-powered Mégane hot hatch if the model line is reinvented as a radically different high-riding EV crossover for next generation. The current RS is conversely more practical and mature, but no less sporty than its predecessor. An evolutionary design with a more upright roof and improved headroom, the current Mégane RS features a more urgent demeanor with wide rear haunches and near full width rear lights.

With a more grounded stance, prominent side sill, and functional side vents that improve heat dissipation and airflow, the current Mégane RS’ bigger rear air diffuser generates more downforce. Behind its more prominent emblem, moodier headlights, F1-style front blade and bigger intakes, the RS is driven by a smaller, more powerful, turbocharged 1.8-liter engine shared with Renault’s recently resurrected Alpine A110 sports car, in lieu of its predecessor’s 2-liter.

Producing 280HP at a higher revving 6,000rpm and 390Nm at a broader, more easily accessible 2,400–4,800rpm, compared to its predecessor, the Mégane RS is flexible and decisively confident when accelerating in gear, throughout an abundant mid-range band. Sprinting from zero to 100km/h in 5.8-seconds and returning 7 liters/100km fuel consumption when equipped with the responsive standard Middle Eastern specification six-speed automated dual-clutch gearbox, the current Mégane RS is both quicker and more efficient.

Responsively assertive from standstill with its quick spooling turbo, the Mégane RS launches tidily and almost completely eliminates the tugging torque steer usually associated with powerful front-drive cars. This quality can be attributed to its modified MacPherson strut front suspension and its independent steering axis pivot. Accumulating power with eager urgency and a snarl from its central exhaust port, the muscular and aerodynamically slippery RS confidently accelerates to high speeds, and can achieve 250km/h.

Stable and settled at speed, with plenty of downforce keeping it planted through fast bends, the Mégane RS drives smoothly and comfortably, even with low profile 245/35R19 tires. With hydraulic compression stops inside its dampers acting like secondary internal dampers, the RS delivers a composed, comfortable, committed and vertically buttoned-down ride quality. Tires are meanwhile pushed firmly into the ground for improved traction, road-holding and braking.

The Mégane RS’ 4Control four-wheel-steering system shortens its wheelbase at lower speeds by turning rear wheels 2.7° opposite to the front wheels, enhancing agility and maneuverability. At higher speeds, the rear wheels instead turn 1° in the same direction as the front wheels for improved lane change stability. Though the vehicle is maneuverable without the 4Control, it provides the RS the agility of an even smaller hot hatch, and a larger car’s high speed stability.

Skipping down through gears in manual mode before a series of chicanes, the Mégane RS appeared was at home on the fast and intricate Autodrome. Performing successive direction changes with ease, it effortlessly navigated tight cornering lanes. Equally impressive during a second on-road test drive, the RS was a comfortable and refined long distance motorway companion. More forgiving than anticipated over imperfections, it was meanwhile easy to maneuver and park in congested urban conditions.

Sportily styled with Alcantara seats, contrasting stitching, and carbon fiber and aluminium accents, the Mégane RS’ cabin is comfortable and tasteful, with improved visibility and a supportive driving position. An infotainment screen telemetry system includes g-force, steering angle and temperature instrumentation, while driving modes include individually customizable sound, shift, stability and steering settings. Well-equipped in road-biased Sport specification, the RS includes cornering direction lights, rear view camera, blind-spot warning, and parking assistance systems.

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