Produced since 1995, the Renault Megane is the flagship Hatchback vehicle by the French Automakers. Since the hatchback and small cars section is particularly hot in South-East Asia, Renault Motors recently updated the Megane RS that has seen a consistent demand in the past 6 years. Talking about the Indonesian market in particular, we have seen the rising demand for small cars and hatchbacks due to the increasing city traffic and rising fuel prices. The latest ‘facelifted’ version of the highly successful hatchback by Renault motors, was presented at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show and featured a brand new design aesthetic. This might be mainly due to the inclusion of the CMF-CD platform, which was co-developed in a venture with the Japanese Nissan Motors. As a result what we get is a totally new vehicle that not only looks far more impressive than the older models but will also give a heavy competition to mid-size hatchbacks such as the Volkswagen Polo and Hyundai i20. The exterior changes include the addition of a new face, which is quite similar to the Clio supermini’s design. Branded as the Megane Renaultsport or ‘RS’, the car certainly has a distinctive sporty appeal to it that makes it stand apart from its contemporaries.Although the French automakers, Groupe Renault have made quite a name across the globe when it comes to automobiles, not many might be aware of their racing division. Renault Sport Technologies or simply ‘RenaultSport’ was manifested in 1976 and has been responsible for the involvement of Renault branded vehicles in motorsporting events. They have been known to tune several vehicles from the Renault catalogue and have also helped develop several production vehicles for the French automotive giants. Their latest creation the Megane RS, is the manufacturer’s newest entrant in the mid-size hatchback segment in Indonesia. Although the past few years haven’t been what one can call ‘profitable’ for the various automakers, they haven’t lost their hopes in the market. A fine example is the Renault Megane, which has seen a good demand despite the market inclination towards MPVs and SUVs.
Unlike the older Megane 250, the latest Renaultsport will be supplied with an all-new 1.6-litre mill that has been tweaked in accordance with the emissions regulations. The manufacturers have also claimed that while the toned down engine will have no effect on the vehicle’s overall performance, it will certainly improve the vehicle’s fuel economy. The older 2.0-litre drivetrain has been claimed to provide between 12.2-15.8 kilometres per litre, which will be significantly improved thanks to the smaller sized engine and a brand new lightweight platform.
The move to tone down the engine capacity for the latest variant of the Megane RS is certainly a risky one by the manufacturers and might fall flat on their faces. Nevertheless, they have claimed that the new drivetrain coupled with their newest CMF-CD platform will provide nearly 270 bhp and will be controlled through a 6-speed automatic transmission. The low CO2 emissions will also result in various tax exemptions leading to a lowered buying price.
Presented as a sportier variant with a Renaultsport tuned engine, the Megane RS delivers an astonishing top speed of 255 kmph. Although these specs sound quite similar when comparing it to the Renault Clio, but the Megane’s 1.6-litre engine provides an increased torque of 280 nm and can reach 0-100 kmph in an impressive 7.1 seconds.
The exteriors of the Megane RS get a hefty overhaul with a completely new platform that is also shared with the Nissan Pulsar. The body design has also been revamped with several new lines and arches that improves the Megane RS’ aerodynamics. The all new front grille encompasses the smartly designed LED headlamps and the signature Renault nose with their brand’s emblem. The front intake has been presented black with a separate compartment for fog lamps. The vehicle’s height has also been lowered to make it appear like a premium-segment hatchback and to suit its ‘sporty’ body design. A large portion of the vehicle’s rear is covered by the marvellously sleek LED lamps that would merge if it wasn’t for the Renault emblem in the middle. The optional body kit provided courtesy of Renaultsport Technologies provides some interesting visual changes with silver accents.The top of the line variant is the Megane RS GT trim that is presented with much larger front intakes and the innovatively designed tailpipes, a black front grille and a roof spoiler and rear bumper. The increased body dimensions of the Megane RS are also a major attribute that sets it apart from its predecessors. Although it bears a similar design aesthetic as the Volkswagen Polo and Golf. The sportier styling and larger body will certainly catch the buyer’s attention. Some might feel otherwise about the oddly shaped rear, but with the roof spoiler and a rear diffuser supplied with the GT trim, does a great job of fixing up the peculiar looks of the Megane RS.
The overall dimensions of the older Megane coupe has certainly been buffed up and bears the aggressive looks of a sports car. The overall length of the vehicle is 4364 mm, which is 65 mm longer than the older model. The wheelbase too has been increased from 2636 mm to 2464 mm and is much wider than the previous release.
While, the older Megane coupe was presented with comparatively ‘bland’ interiors, the latest 2016 version speaks of some highly upmarket interiors that will put even the BMW 1 series to shame. Although the dashboard and the cabin is essentially the same as the older model, the increased exterior dimensions have provided for a decent space and appears quite roomy. The GT version also features specialized sports seats that look quite familiar to racing bucket seats and red-coloured 4-point seatbelts. The upholstery has also been upgraded to a dual toned blue/black combination with some really impressive stitching patterns. The Megane RS has also been equipped with some really nifty features such as Bose stereo system with speakers, Portrait oriented touch-screen and the extremely fun and functional R-link 2 infotainment system. The dashboard too is full of multiple controls and features a multi-function electronic steering wheel with the Renault insignia in the centre. The higher variants will also feature high quality Nappa Leather upholstery and chrome-accented dashboard.
With the model being exempted from several taxations, Group Renault have loaded the latest Megane RS with tonnes of comfort features such as R-link 2 infotainment, climate control and the specially designed sports seats that offer comfort with style. The old analog instrument cluster has also been replaced by a digital one to provide a futuristic and premium appeal to the vehicle’s interiors.
When it comes to choices in engines, Renault seems to be in no mood of disappointing its fans. The Megane RS will be presented with a choice of 7 different engine variants, with 3 petrol engines and 4 diesel engines, which are yet to be revealed by the manufacturers. It will feature an all-new 1.6-litre drivetrain and the GT variant will be supplied with a larger engine that is rumoured to produce around 208 hp. The entry level 1.6-litre turbo engine provides an impressive power of up to 270 bhp and will also be presented with an advanced EDC transmission for better handling and fuel economy. The vehicle can reach from 0-100 kilometers per hour in 6-7 seconds with a top speed of around 250 kmph, making it one of the fastest vehicles in its segment.
Being a performance driven car, the brand has made it completely in accordance with the enthusiasm of power which can be utilised in rough terrains and dirt. Hence, no audio system is been provided here.
It is also offered in a choice of 18-inch and 19-inch alloy wheels with 235/40 ZR18 and 235/35 ZR19 tyres. The 18-inch wheels are provided as standard for all the variants except the GT trim, which is supplied with the 19-inch alloys with a stylistic 5 spoke design.
The Renault Megane RS was awarded with a 5-Star safety rating at the Euro NCAP and is loaded with a large variety of features that ensure occupant safety and driving comfort. It features disc brakes with traction and stability controls as standard across all variants. The front brakes feature a Brembo Ventilated disc braking system and solid discs for the rear. It features 6 airbags for the driver and front passenger as standard along with EBD, Anti-lock braking system, Electronic stability control, Anti slip regulation, parking assist with sensors, rear fog lights, LED daytime running headlights with automatic dusk sensitivity, seatbelt warning, height adjustable seatbelts, ORVMs with turn indicators, ISOFIX child seat mounts, 3-point front and rear seat belts, Power windows for front and rear, Renault-Anti Intruder Device, Cruise control and Limited slip differential.