Megane RS to downsize

JOHN CAREY

RENAULTíS replacement for the legendary Megane RS will not have a turbocharged 2.0-litre four, a manual transmission, or a three-door body.

Though the new version of Franceís hot hatch great isnít due to launch in Europe until 2017, Wheels can confirm it will be a very different car.

The current Megane RSís engine has reached the end of its life, according to Regis Fricotte, Renault Sportís vice-president of sales, marketing and communication.

The turbo 2.0-litre, which punches out 195kW in Cup models and 202kW in the Trophy, simply cannot be developed to meet future emissions requirements. ďIt has not the capacity to go further on,Ē he said.

Fricotte would not confirm what will take its place, but the obvious candidate is a high-boost version of Renaultís turbo 1.6-litre four, which delivers 151kW in the new, fourth-generation Megane GT (below) due to reach Australia in the second half of 2016. After all, Peugeot Sport is already getting 200kW from its turbo 1.6-litre four in the forthcoming 308 GTi. And what one French performance car company can do, so, presumably, can another.

Renault has already confirmed that the new Megane will not be built in three-door form. Global markets are more interested in crossovers and SUVs than threedoor hatches (and convertibles).

So the Megane RS will, like the imminent Clio RS, be forced to switch to a five-door body.

Again like the Clio RS, the next Megane RS will be equipped only with a dual-clutch transmission, Fricotte hinted. The changes to body and driveline didnít hurt Clio RS sales at all, he added.

Fricotte also said Renault Sport was planning an expanded range to leverage the brandís return to F1.

While the executive would not reveal details, he was crystal clear on one point: ďWe will call it an RS only when we really believe it is an RS,Ē he said.