- by BlackRat250
Welcome to meganesport.net
The worlds top resource for owners of the Renault Megane
RS Megane & meganesport.net History - The End of an Era - and the start of a new one!
News broke on the forums last year that if you haven't already got an order in for an R26 or other Megane sport variant - your not getting one! Order books are now closed for the current range bringing to an end production of the latest in Renault's seemingly unstoppable line of class leading hot hatches. As a goodbye to our favourite Renault here's a brief rundown of the current range's history.
Kicking off in 2004 we saw the first of the RS Meganes. Slightly misunderstood at first Renault seemed to be aiming the car as a fast but comfy cruiser. With a slightly softer setup but yet being endowed with the legendary Renault Sport badge it received mixed reviews. Whatever you thought of the original RS Megane there is no doubt it made a big impact with its purposeful yet understated looks and underneath that slightly less than hardcore suspension setup there was always lurking one of the best chassis ever to be forged at the Dieppe plant.
In a swift response to sharpen up the RS Megane and silence its critics in 2005 the Trophy edition appeared.
A number of key improvements were made which although not significantly altering the appearance of the car certainly helped to re direct the Megane Sport back towards it hot hatch roots. Small modifications to the steering, brakes and suspension all added up to a big change and finally the Megane was taken very seriously as a leader in the hot hatch sector. As the trophy was a limited edition with a mere 160 destined for the UK a "cup" version followed shortly after which offered an identical chassis setup in a non limited edition with a wider choice of colours (The trophy was exclusively available in Nimbus Grey).
The Trophy/Cup received widespread acclaim and at this point the RS Megane was starting to appear on more and more petrolhead radars. Following Renault's victory in the 2005 F1 season's constructors championship it was inevitable that there would be some kind of trickledown onto the Renaultsport range. It came in the shape of (To give it it's full title) The Megane Renaultsport F1 Team Special Edition. These days lairy colours and coloured alloys are everywhere but back in 2006 the F1's Ultra blue paint over gloss black wheels was pretty much the wildest looking thing you'd find in any manufacturers showroom. Receiving further tweaks to the steering and suspension and the addition of Recaro seats this was the clearest indication yet of Renault's intention to pitch the Megane as serious drivers car. The entire Megane range had at this time also received a nip and tuck facelift with a smoothing out of the front bumper and rear lights been the most noticeable changes. A revised interior also helped to improve the feel of the cockpit.
Around this time we kept hearing rumours as we often do about yet another 225 Variant. As is always the case a lot of the details turned out not to be the case but we were pleasantly surprised to see that in November of 2006 this latest incarnation came with a slight power hike to 230 BHP and most importantly a Limited Slip Differential or LSD. The F1 R26 made perhaps the biggest impact of any of the other derivatives. Universally loved by the motoring press it got rave reviews and UK dealerships could not sell then fast enough. Essentially based on the F1 it received more suspension tweaks, the LSD and a slightly more purposeful sounding exhaust. Later on a Lux version was added so that full Leather and keyless entry could be ordered with the R26 for the first time. A Glacier White paint option finished off the line of what is destined to become an iconic car in this sector.
Keeping your options open
During the evolution of the Renaultsport Megane range a couple of notable additions to the range popped up. In late 2006 we heard rumours that a diesel powered Renaultsport variant was on the way. We could scarcely believe it until a video sprung up that appeared to show a DCI like engine bay and also some cockpit pictures that made it into a Renaultsport brochure showed a rev counter that topped out at 5k. In April 2007 the Renaultsport Megane DCI 175 landed and added respectable MPG to the long list of Megane attributes. EVO magazine currently run an RS DCI on their "Fast Fleet" where its had nothing but praise. Virtually indistinguishable from the petrol version save for deletion of the rear spoiler and 17 inch alloys in standard trim.
In October 2006 Renault introduced the GT into the Megane line-up. Although officially not part of the Renaultsport range we have always taken the GT under our wing being so. Seen as a stepping stone from the rest of the range the GT was available in slightly more tepid tune than the RS range. A 165 BHP turbocharged petrol and 150 BHP Diesel along with unique bumpers, alloys, sideskirts and trim designs offered up a good percentage of the RS range punch but in a more insurance friendly package. The GT is most easily recognised by the distinctive "GT" inscripted moulding on the bottom of the rear bumper.
Just when you thought it was all over things got a bit silly in France. We can only assume that this final finale to the current range was dreamt up following a drunken Dieppe staff night out but we salute the for it all the same. The Megane R26.R.
Carbon bonnet, roll cage, cut slicks, racing bucket seats, harnesses. You'd be forgiven for thinking your looking at the options list for a Porsche GT2 or RS but no those wonderful barmy Frenchmen decided not to send the current Megane range out with a bang. They preferred it go out with a full on nuclear blast! We could scarcely believe some of the pre release rumours floating around about this car but whereas previously most of the juicy bits of gossip don't make it onto the final car the R26.R delivered in a big way.
123kgs have been sliced from the standard R26 kerb weight with a carbon bonnet and polycarbonate back widow standard. The rear seats are languishing in a French landfill site as is most of the soundproofing. Further changes to the suspension setup have also been made and the cross drilled brakes are gone in favour of more serious grooved items. We're yet to see road tests but a Nurburgring record of 8m17s speaks for itself. The very limted (230 for the UK) R26.R isn't even the top of the hot hatch hierarchy. Its created a genre all of its own. Quite simply there is nothing like it in the showrooms today.
So from its somewhat muddled arrival in 2004 to becoming a benchmark driver focussed performance legend the Megane has had a good run its fair to say.
Late 2009 saw the launch of the much anticipated new Megane 250, with the arrival in the UK in 2010.
So the evolution continues, no shaking that bottom with this one. The Renaultsport megane 250 was launched in the UK Jan 2010, and what a car it has turned out to be, 250bhp (claimed) a little more in reality with build and interior quality that feels more grown up and is knocking on the doors of our German friends.
When launched a mixed reaction was felt on whether it was heading away from the more in your face design of say the F1 R26, but it seems to have bowled most of us over with its sleek looks and performance. Renault also gave us two chassis options right from the off, sport or cup. The sport which would have heated leather seats, climate and a softer feel about the car but by no means soft when you planted your right foot. The cup with its firmer ride and LSD diff is a bit more track orientated but perfectly suited to the day to day blast to work or around the B roads.
Renault also offered up some gadgets like the RS monitor (option) which gives real time telemetry and five different throttle response settings, 18inch wheels as standard with the 19s as a option, red brembo calipers and grooved discs on cup chassis cars, stunning recaro seats or a very good standard seat, a 5 STAR ncap rating and lets not forget that this car has won Whatcar car of the year (best hot hatch) for two years running.
Renault seem to have created a winning combination with this car. Maybe there is a R version around the corner to carry on this evolution !!! Watch this space !!