Hardcore Renaultsport Megane spied testing; more power to rival the Ford Focus RS

This modified Megane, spied testing at the Nordschleife, is the best proof yet that Renaultsport is ramping its hottest hatch up a notch in preparation for the next-gen Focus RS’s arrival.

The Megane 250 has been one of the current Focus’s toughest rivals, even though it gives away around 50bhp to the RS.

See the pics of the hardcore new Renaultsport Megane in action

Renaultsport is likely to attempt to narrow that gap with the revised model. Sources say the firm’s 2.0-litre powerplant could yield considerably more power; that could mean as much as 300bhp, enough to rival the Focus and the next-gen Astra VXR, which is likely to have a similar figure.

The Mégane’s chassis is likely to receive only minor tweaks for the hotter model. Its mechanical limited-slip differential — a part originally sourced from Nissan’s US line-up — is said to have the capacity to cope with greater power, even at its most aggressive setting.

The car’s styling is also likely to be tweaked only mildly. But the revised front bumper on this test hack does hint at the extra cooling for the brakes and engine that will need to be factored into the design.

The hotter Mégane will be one of the first modern Renaultsport models not to be created under the guidance of British engineer Steve Marvin.

Marvin, the technical director credited with some of the best hot hatches of the past decade, has been moved from the performance division to Renault’s van department.

As with the current 250, the new car will be built on the main Mégane production line in Palencia, Spain. Like Ford, Renault switched production of its rapid production cars from a specialised plant — it its case, the former Alpine factory in Dieppe — to the regular line in a bid to make the hot cars more profitable.

An ultra-hardcore, lightweight version of the car is possible, using plastic windows and selected carbonfibre panels.

But as with the R26R variant of the previous-gen Mégane, it’s likely that Renault would choose to roll out such a model at the end of the car’s lifecycle — and in very limited numbers, given the R26R’s hardcore appeal.

The current-generation three-door Mégane is likely to be around until at least 2013.

John McIlroy

See all the latest Renault Megane reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

Renault Megane
It's hard to make a case for any of the non-sporting Megane range

The Renault Megane looks bland, and it's not that good to drive either

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Comments
27

22 July 2010

A great car gets even better, maybe. We'll see how it deals with the extra power, it has already eclipsed the Focus, this should put further daylight between them, quite literally.

22 July 2010

Dont think so, the next gen focus rs will be 2.0 litre, up to 350 bhp,4wd,partly electric and will not have silly plastic windows,also it wont lose silly amounts of money like the renault with depreciation.

22 July 2010

[quote goodcarlover]Dont think so, the next gen focus rs will be 2.0 litre, up to 350 bhp,4wd,partly electric and will not have silly plastic windows,also it wont lose silly amounts of money like the renault with depreciation.[/quote]

I don't think the powertrain for the next RS has been confirmed (correct me if I'm wrong) so we cant count on that technology and power output.

I agree that the focus RS wont have plastic windows etc, Ford and Renault are doing different things.

Ford does fast hot hatches that you can still use everyday and will do everything a normal focus does.

Renault does fast light weight hot hatches that are designed to be as fast as possible, but not really as usable as the focus in real world, non-track driving.

22 July 2010

A great car gets even better, maybe. We'll see how it deals with the extra power, it has already eclipsed the Focus, this should put further daylight between them, quite literally.

Correct me if i am wrong,but did Renault not cry when Ford came out with the 300 hp front wheel drive Focus RS claiming they "stole" their technology!! Or is it just that RevoKnuckle is better?

This car is so far behind the RS,that Ford are running out the last 500 Focus as SE models and ALL have been sold out. Too little too late although 300 hp is the new hot hatch benchmark so at least Renault are thinking ahead!!

22 July 2010

[quote Focus ST]

Renault does fast light weight hot hatches that are designed to be as fast as possible, but not really as usable as the focus in real world, non-track driving.

[/quote]

I thought that Renault now give you the choice? Cup or sports chassis set-up?

As much as I admire the Focus RS, I'd take the Renault, in either current 250 guise or future 300+ guise. The previous R26 was one of Autocars favourite hot hatches and i'm hoping that towards the end of the current Meganes lifespan, they will do a bonkers hardcore edition like the R26.

I'm not keen on the looks of the new Focus, and the RS rendering on the front of this weeks Autocar doesn't look pretty at all.

22 July 2010

[quote kevin2010]This car is so far behind the RS,that Ford are running out the last 500 Focus as SE models and ALL have been sold out. [/quote] Really? It's strange that in every comparison test by major magazines, the Renault has defeated the Ford, now with an extra 50bhp this car will easily outclass the Ford which Renault has shown up as an overweight tyre muncher.

22 July 2010

No one should doubt that Renault can and will do excellent sport car. What I can't understand is these cheep ugly front plastics! It seems that they are struggling to find right design language!

22 July 2010

[quote PRODIGY]I'm not keen on the looks of the new Focus, and the RS rendering on the front of this weeks Autocar doesn't look pretty at all[/quote]

There are usually about five year's worth of 'new RS revealed' covers before we get anywhere near knowing what the latest RS will actually look like or whether it will really happen!! No doubt sells a few mags though - the pile in the shop always seems thinner when they feature them.

22 July 2010

[quote Focus ST]

Ford does fast hot hatches that you can still use everyday and will do everything a normal focus does.

Renault does fast light weight hot hatches that are designed to be as fast as possible, but not really as usable as the focus in real world, non-track driving.

[/quote]

Reanualt build fast light weight hot hatches that keep their four tyres in better contact with the tarmac than the Ford Focus and also give their brakes better balance. To my mind this makes a better everyday car than filling up the cabin with the same radio and all the other gadgets from the rest of the range. It is that thought of thinking that took the Golf Gti from lightest and sharpest in class to what we get today.

It may be that most hot hatches spend a lot more time in traffic queues today than they did 20 years ago but if you can find an empty road light weight and keeping the tyres on the road surface count far more than a plush cabin.

22 July 2010

[quote Woigookin][quote kevin2010]This car is so far behind the RS,that Ford are running out the last 500 Focus as SE models and ALL have been sold out. [/quote] Really? It's strange that in every comparison test by major magazines, the Renault has defeated the Ford, now with an extra 50bhp this car will easily outclass the Ford which Renault has shown up as an overweight tyre muncher.[/quote]

I read reviews that called it pretty close both ways - Focus sometimes better on the road. Megane generally preferred on the track. Both highly rated to be fair to them.

Anyway. It doesn't matter anymore, the Focus is at the end of its life. Megane development will continue for years before it has another comparable RS challenger, which is a shame if you like fast Fords.

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