18 February 2009

Shadow warrior

New Renaultsport Megane sneaks up on you, like shrouded ninja

Renault Megane RS

This is the new Renaultsport Megane. Well, it isn’t. It’s a rather grainy, shadowy teaser of the new Renaultsport Megane, artfully cribbed from the microsite, counting down to the launch of Renault’s new hot hatch.

From what we can see of it, we’re impressed. The subtler, curvier lines of the new Megane have been bolstered by a big bodykit reminiscent of the Megane Trophy we saw back in Paris last year – that dipping splitter has been taken near-wholesale from the track-only Trophy. We’d be delighted if they carry over a few more styling cues from the Trophy. All of them, in fact.

Renault hasn’t released any technical details on the hot new Megane, but expect it to be powered by a pumped-up version of the two-litre turbo petrol engine putting out something in the region of 250bhp. The current RenaultSport R26 puts out just short of 230bhp, so the Renault engineers will be looking for a sizeable jump over that.

The new Megane RS (as Renault seems to be calling it, though we’re sure they told us they’d never stoop to the ‘RS’ designation…) should be lighter than the outgoing model too, which is good news for handling and acceleration – you could well be looking at a hot hatch that’ll hit 60mph in under six seconds… more than enough to keep the new Focus RS true.

Like the Focus, the Megane will need some clever tech to keep it from torque steering like, er, a Saab Viggen. We could see a limited slip diff on the front wheels, along with some of RenaultSport’s legendary traction control trickery.

As the countdown asserts, all will be revealed at Geneva in less than a fortnight. We can’t wait.

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