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2017 Megane Renault Sport specs firming, EVs and SUVs in RS future

There are plenty of surprises to come in the next few years, including EVs and SUVs that will wear the Renault Sport badge.

Renault has finally confirmed there will be a track-ready, RS version of the new Megane, and that there are plenty of surprises to come in the next few years, including EVs and SUVs that will wear the Renault Sport badge.

Jean Calcat, general manager of sales overseas, is a close follower of the Australian market, which was the second biggest for Renault Sport, in sheer numbers, in 2015, after France and ahead of giants like Germany and the UK.

“Yes, there will  be a next generation of the Megane RS, and yes it’s going to be based on the car you’re launching in Australia right now, and I’d like your market to be a priority,” he said.

“I can also tell you it will be the same body shape, because as we did with the Clio RS, we’re moving to a single body, just a five door.

“We’d love to be as powerful as Volkswagen, who can still offer three-door and five-door versions, but Renault doesn’t have as much financial power as VW, so we’ll have a different strategy.”

Engineers are working on a rev-matching system which indicates the manual option is definitely on the cards.

What  Calcat can’t confirm yet is whether the new Megane RS will come with a manual-box only, a choice of paddle-shift dual-clutch auto or if the company will mirror the controversial decision it made with the Clio and make it auto only – save for the Clio R.S. 16 monster.

Renault Sport boss Patrice Ratti did, however, confirm that his engineers are working on a rev-matching system (which blips on down changes for you in a manual, as seen on its sister company Nissan’s 370Z), which indicates the manual option is definitely on the cards.

While the automatic gearbox only makes up 15 per cent of all sales in France - including cars like Mercedes’ S Class and others that don’t even offer self-shifters any more - Renault Australia admits there would be more interest from our market in the two-pedal version, if it comes. “But if we were given the choice, we’d take both,” a spokesman confirmed.

Much like the three vs five-door decision, Ratti says in the end the gearbox choice will be one of whether it’s economical to develop two gearboxes, or just one.

Ratti also insisted the next hard-core Megane would not be made any softer, to compete with VW’s GTI, and would remain the kind of car you can take to the track and give a good belting.

The company’s four-wheel steering, which has just been launched on the mainstream version of the Megane, is also an option for the RS.

The system turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts at speeds up to 60km/h, to improve your turning circle, but then follows the steering wheels at speeds above that, to improve cornering and high-speed manoeuvrability.

Light-weight materials and hybrid technology have all been considered as part of the project as well, but most have been rejected because of the “cost-to-weight ratio”. 

Mild-hybrid technology interests Ratti and his team and “might be necessary in the future” but electrification is more of a certainty.

“A full electric RS car, yes, It’s coherent with the strategy of Renault and the evolution of the market and we’re looking at the improvement of the batteries now - look at the doubling of capacity in the Zoe for example - but it’s still not enough, yet,” he said. “But even more efficient batteries will come.

“Surely, we won’t do only electric cars but we could well have one in the range.”

As for Calcat, his job is to open up more overseas markets - like Korea and China - and to help the Renault Sport brand reach its goal of doubling its 2014 sales by 2019. The only way to do that is to slap RS badges on more Renault variants, and that will mean SUVs.

“Obviously the market trend is going towards SUVs and at some stage in the future Renault Sport will have to look into that area,” he said.

“Right now, we are all about hot hatches, but we’re looking at how to mix the current RS philosophy with a product that is desired by most customers in the world but doesn’t fit with our original philosophy. 

“At the moment we don't have that answer but that doesn’t mean we’re not looking into it.”

Would you consider an electric Megane RS or even a Koleos RS? Tell us what you think in the comments below. 

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