Renault’s newest rival to the Ford Focus RS, Honda Civic Type R and Volkswagen Golf R was previewed on Friday at the 2017 Formula One Monaco Grand Prix.
The car is a new generation of the Mégane RS, and it’s due on sale in markets where Renaults are sold in the spring of 2018.
Renault is holding back most of the details until the formal debut in September at the 2017 Frankfurt auto show. However, we did learn a few things in Monaco where we also saw current Renault Sport F1 driver Nico Hülkenberg take the car out onto the famous Circuit de Monaco.
The new Mégane RS maintains the front-wheel-drive configuration of its predecessor, though for the first time it offers a dual-clutch transmission as an alternative to the standard manual transmission. Another change is a swap from the predecessor’s three-door body to a more practical five-door shape.
Power, meanwhile, comes from turbocharged inline-4, perhaps with more than 300 horsepower to best the 275 hp of the predecessor’s final variant. Patrice Ratti, the head of Renault Sport’s road car division, said the new Mégane RS will be the “sports car benchmark” in the compact class.
That means you can bet Renault will be targeting the Nürburgring record for front-wheel-drive cars with its newest Mégane RS. The previous model lapped the ‘Ring in 7:54.36 in 2014 to achieve the record, but the time to beat as of today is 7:43.8—achieved by Honda’s 2017 Civic Type R in April.