2018 Renault Megane RS - pictures of new 1.8-litre engine leaked
Renault's upcoming hot hatch will be available in Sport or Cup form and with four-wheel steering; latest images show new car's engine
Renault Sport will demonstrate its 2018 Mégane at the Monaco Grand Prix
The next Renault Sport Mégane has been leaked ahead of its official unveiling later this year, with the rear of the car on full display
Although a sheet covers the rest of the car, the full rear can be seen...
...with a distinctive, trapezoidal exhaust incorporated into a rear diffuser and a ridged spoiler
The image was leaked onto an automotive spy page...
...and the sheet covering the car suggests a private event at which the car may have been shown
The RS will look more mature than many of its hot hatch rivals despite having more than 300bhp
Speaking to Autocar at the Shanghai motor show, brand design boss Stéphane Janin said he believed Renault Sport's next model would be better off flaunting its performance with raw pace rather than lairy design
"Our brand is not about aggressivity," Janin said. "We try to have a powerful product but rather simple with sensual shapes"
"That's what we tried to make with the next RS, which is actually harder than going aggressive, I think. To find the right balance is harder but I think we have done it."
The car, which was recently previewed in an official video (above), will be the most potent Mégane produced yet
It will get four-wheel steering and benefit from the larger platform of the latest Mégane, making it a contender to steal the Nürburgring front-wheel-drive lap record from the current champion, the Honda Civic Type R
Under the bonnet of the hottest fourth-generation Mégane will be a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine. The unit will produce more than 300bhp, making it at least 29bhp more potent than the most powerful version of the old car’s engine
Posted onto Ferdfanpage's Facebook page, they show the car's new engine - believed to be a turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol unit with close to 300bhp - as well as its sports seats and touchscreen infotainment.
The images follow an earlier leak of the car completely undisguised and official patent images, which all show the same design.
The images show that the upcoming hot hatch will only look slightly more aggressive than the regular Mégane range, which comes as no surprise, following comments made to Autocar by brand design boss Stéphane Janin earlier this year.
"Our brand is not about aggressivity," he said. "We try to have a powerful product but rather simple with sensual shapes. That's what we tried to make with the next RS, which is actually harder than going aggressive, I think. To find the right balance is harder but I think we have done it."
When it launches later this year, the next Mégane RS will come with a choice of two chassis settings and four-wheel steering. The standard model will use a Sport chassis, which will be a softer, more road biased set-up. But buyers will be able to opt for a harder Cup chassis, which will be catered towards track use.
Four-wheel steering will be fitted as standard, boosting agility and stability. The so-called 4Control system will be controlled by an electromagnetic actuator mounted on the rear axle.
Renault will also offer a six-speed EDC double clutch transmission or manual gearbox. While European markets are expected to prefer the manual, markets in Asia will likely have more demand for EDCs.
The car will be the most potent Mégane produced yet, using an engine shared with the upcoming Alpine A110.
The hottest version of the outgoing Mégane RS, the 275 Cup S, reaches 62mph from rest in 5.8sec. Expect the regular version of the next hot Mégane to run close to that time, ranking it close to the Honda Civic Type R, which takes 5.7sec, and not far behind the four-wheel-drive Audi S3, which needs 5.2sec. Following harder versions of the Mégane could eventually close that gap.
Renault has remained tight-lipped about its next hot Mégane, but the brand has at least hinted that the car will arrive on roads some time in 2018. It's expected to make its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September.
As with the facelifted Clio, expect a small increase in price over that of the current Mégane RS. An entry-level price of around £27,000 is likely. This significantly undercuts the Civic Type R, which starts at £30,000, and ranks the Mégane RS well above the less hardcore Ford Focus ST, which costs from £22,750.