The first photo of Renault’s rival to the Ford Focus RS, Honda Civic Type R and Volkswagen Golf R has surfaced ahead of an expected debut at the 2017 Formula One Monaco Grand Prix later this month. (It’s also thought to be making an appearance at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed in June.)
The car is a new generation of the Mégane RS, with the development being handled by Renault Sport Cars. Renault's high-performance road car division teased the hot hatch in March in a video celebrating the milestone of one million Facebook fans.
The new Mégane RS will maintain the front-wheel-drive configuration of its predecessor, though it will swap a three-door body in favor of a more practical five-door shape. Judging by a test mule spotted last year, the new car will maintain center-mounted exhaust pipes. Another design motif will be a checkered flag pattern for the LED daytime running lights—a signature element of Renault Sport Cars.
Power will once again come from a turbocharged inline-4, perhaps with more than 300 horsepower. The outgoing model in its most extreme Mégane RS 275 Trophy R guise came with 275 hp.
As mentioned, there won’t be an all-wheel-drive system. However, to further aid the handling, the car will be fitted with four-wheel steering. It will also offer a dual-clutch transmission as an alternative to the standard manual.
No doubt Renault will target 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, but the time to beat as of today is 7:43.8—achieved by Honda’s 2017 Civic Type R in April.