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renault s megane rs isn t pulling its punches

Renault’s Megane RS isn’t pulling its punches

If you take your hot hatches with some French flair and a manual, the Megane RS is the only way to go

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

22 Apr 2019

The Renault Megane RS is a favourite in the office for one simple reason; it’s a proper hot hatch with a no-frills manual. This new Megane RS is now about to take the fight to the likes of the Honda Civic Type-R and Volkswagen Golf R as it can be had with a manual or dual-clutch box.

It’s based on the fourth-generation Megane that only comes in five-door guise so it’s quite a practical hot hatch. The engine has lost some displacement, being a 1.8-litre turbo-four. Power comes in at 276hp and 390Nm of torque though so even with the smaller displacement, it’s making more power.

Renault has made a six-speed manual and six-speed Efficient Dual Clutch (EDC) transmission available. It dispatches the century sprint in a scant 5.8-seconds and will climb all the way to 255kph. If you get the dual-clutch, top speed is a little lower at 250kph.

It’s still a front-wheel driven hatch but Renault has added the 4Control four-wheel steering system that we first got a glimpse of in the pedestrian Megane GT that was launched here in early 2018.

All Megane RS models sold here will ride on the Cup chassis that’s more track-focused. It has rally-style four hydraulic compression bump stops for better handling or comfort.

Renault’s no strangers to hot hatches and all their knowhow from the previous models was incorporated into the trick suspension setup. The front has an independent steering axis for improved precision and being the Cup model, a Torsen differential is standard. Rubbers are Bridgestone Potenza S001 pieces in a 245/35R19 sizing on Interlagos wheels. The front brakes are still Brembo units in a bright red.

There’re five driving modes as part of the Renault Multi-Sense system; Comfort, Normal, Sport, Race and the customisable Perso.

Lighting is now handled by LED units in the front with 3D Edge effect DRLs that can double up as fog lights or cornering lamps.

Inside, things are pretty exciting as all hot hatches should be. Those Recaro semi buckets you see in the photos though won't make the cut. Instead, you'll get a pair of fabric sports seats. A 7.0-inch TFT screen with personalised settings negates the need for a traditional analogue cluster. All the infotainment is now operated via an 8.7-inch capacitive touchscreen.

Pricing for the manual is RM279,888 while the dual-clutch is a little higher at RM299,888. Orders are open and the first few customers to sign on the dotted line will receive their hatches later this year. In fact, the first 10 to book the Megane RS before 31 May 2019 will get an all-expenses paid trip to France for an experience at the Renault Sport centre in Dieppe.

The eye-catching Orange Tonic and Liquid Yellow colours will unfortunately cost you an extra RM8,000 while the Pearl White shade is a bit lower at RM1,000. All cars come with a three year/100,000km warranty.