The Renault Megane RS arrives in Singapore



The fastest Renault ever available here can be yours for $164,999 with COE. Still want that GTI?

 

Singapore

The hottest French hot hatch ever is now on our shores. Priced at $164,999 with Certificate of Entitlement, the Renault Megane RS was unveiled to the media in a private viewing, before a grander public reveal by Renault Formula One driver Nico Hulkenberg at Northpoint City mall.

Past Megane RSes have consistently been regarded as among the best hot hatches to drive among their contemporaries, so expectations are high for this new one to perform. To that end, the car features a couple of major features to help ensure it handles as sharp as it looks.

The first of which is 4Control, Renault’s name for its four-wheel steering (4WS) system. This is a feature normally found in much more expensive cars (the Porsche Cayenne, 911 GT3, and BMW 6-series GT for example) and its application in the Megane RS is a first for hot hatches. At low speeds (below 60km/h), the system steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the fronts, to enhance agility and maneuverability; above 60km/h, and the rear wheels steer in the same direction for added stability.

Pop the car into its Race driving mode though, and that crossover threshold is increased to 100km/h, with the expectation that you need the extra agility at a higher speed because you’re on a race track.

The other innovation designed to optimise the Megane RS’s dynamics can be found in its suspension. The shock absorbers feature hydraulic compression stops, which is like a shock absorber within a shock absorber. Theoretically, this dampens the suspension movement before it hits the bump stop, lessening the jolt the car would receive when it hits a particularly nasty bump.

Apart from 4WS, another departure from the conventional hot hatch formula is the Megane RS’s engine. While all rivals use a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, the Megane’s displaces only 1.8-litres, although its cylinder head was designed with input from Renault’s F1 engine builders. As a result, its power output is competitive: 280hp, about mid-way between the Civic Type R and Golf GTI. Torque output is rated at 390Nm.

Although a six-speed manual is available overseas, Singapore-bound Megane RSes will get a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, with a launch control as well as a multi-gear downshift function: pull and hold the downshift paddle under hard braking and the car will shift down multiple gears for you. With this drivetrain, the century sprint can be dispatched in 5.8 seconds, on the way to a 255km/h top speed.

With the addition of the Megane RS to the fold, the front-wheel drive hot hatch war in Singapore is rapidly heating up. In addition to the perennial stalwart, the Volkswagen Golf GTI, there’s also the spicy Seat Leon Cupra, the rabid Honda Civic Type R, the playful Mini John Cooper Works. All that’s left now is to wait for the Hyundai i30N to join the party early next year.

And if the Megane RS’s seems a wee bit tame, yet you can’t live with the Civic’s decidedly aftermarket styling add-ons, perhaps this will tickle your fancy: although no dates have been confirmed, local Renault distributor Wearnes automotive has told CarBuyer that there are plans to bring in the Trophy, and even more extreme version of the Megane RS with 300hp, 420Nm, a mechanical limited-slip differential, more focused handling, and optional Alcantara Recaro seats. Watch this space.

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Jon Lim
CarBuyer's latest addition is its fourth historical Jonathan. Old-fashioned in all but body, he thinks car design peaked in the '90s. He also strongly believes any car can be a race car if you have a sufficient lack of self-preservation, which explains why he nearly flipped a Chinese van while racing it.