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Renault confirms hot new diesel Megane RS hatch

Five-door-only: More powerful 2.0 dCi hatch joins 1.9 dCi Megane sedans.

Renault Oz confirms a late-2008 arrival for its diesel Megane RS dCi 'hot-hatch'

Renault logo5 Jun 2008

RENAULT Australia will add a higher-performance diesel variant to its small hatch range in October, when the Megane Renault Sport dCi becomes Australia’s first oil-burning Megane five-door.

Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but the newest Megane hatch’s 2.0-litre common-rail turbo-diesel delivers no less than 127kW and a healthy 360Nm of torque, which kicks in from 2000rpm and Renault says is available across an operational power band similar to that of a petrol engine.

So while the driveability advantages of the Megane RS diesel over the RS petrol should be significant, the oil-burner’s standing-start acceleration to 100km/h in a claimed 8.3 seconds doesn’t quite land it in hot-hatch territory, even when coupled exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission.

35 center imageNevertheless, the high-performance 2.0 dCi engine does make the diesel Megane quicker and more powerful than small five-door 'performance' diesels like Alfa's 147 J1.9 TD M-Jet ($39,990), Audi's A3 2.0 TDI Sportback ($48,500), Citroen's C4 2.0 HDi auto ($35,990), Dodge's Caliber 2.0 CRD (from $28,990), Fiat's Ritmo 1.9 JTD (from $33,490), Ford's Focus 2.0 TDCi ($27,990), Holden's Astra 1.9 CDTi (from $28,990), the Mazda3 2.0 Diesel ($29,500), the Mercedes-Benz 2.0 B180 CDI ($45,800), Peugeot's 307 XSE 2.0 HDi ($32,590) and 308 XSE 2.0 HDi ($33,590), Saab's 9-3 1.9 TiD ($48,400), Skoda's Roomster 1.9 TDI ($28,990), Volkswagen's Golf 1.9 TDI ($27,990) and 2.0 GT Sport TDI ($37,490) and Volvo's C30 2.4 D5 ($43,950).

BMW's 115kW/340Nm 120d hatch comes the closest to the Megane RS dCi in terms of performance figures and accelerates faster, but as the only rear-drive in its class it's also one of the most expensive at $48,000.

Of course, the RS Megane’s 2.0 dCi engine, which will also power Renault’s upcoming new Laguna and Koleos models and features a variable-geometry turbocharger and Piezoelectric injectors, does offer a distinct fuel economy and therefore greenhouse gas emissions improvement over its Megane RS petrol stablemates.

It returns claimed combined cycle fuel consumption of 6.5 litres per 100km and CO2 emissions of 172 grams per kilometre.

The five-door Renault Sport Megane 2.0 dCi joins the less powerful (96kW/300Nm) 1.9 dCi Expression manual ($27,990) and (96kW/260Nm) 1.9 dCi Privilege automatic ($35,990) sedans as the third diesel-powered variant in the Megane range.

While the three-door Megane Renault Sport remains available only in ‘225’-badged 165kW/300Nm 2.0-litre petrol guise ($37,990), the new diesel variant brings the number of Renault’s five-door Megane hatch variants to six, including the (83kW/152kW) 1.6 Authentique ($25,490), (2.0 Expression auto ($29,990), 2.0 Dynamic ($30,490), 2.0 Renault Sport 225 ($42,490) and 2.0 Renault Sport 225 Cup ($44,490).

The Megane RS dCi employs a variation of the chassis developed for the RS 225 turbo-petrol models and comprises a 20mm-diameter front anti-roll bar and independent steering-axis front suspension, but spring and damper settings have been tuned specifically to accommodate the 80kg-heavier diesel engine.

It also features the RS 225’s programmed-deflection flexible beam rear suspension, which is claimed to offer the same torsional stiffness as the Megane RS Cup at 80Nm per degree. The electronically-variable power steering system is also tuned specifically for the RS diesel’s unique weight distribution.

The RS petrol’s Brembo brakes are also included, meaning 312x28mm ventilated front discs and 300x11mm solid rears, with four-piston callipers up front. The five-star NCAP safety-rated Megane’s ESP electronic stability control system is fitted as standard.

Familiar 18-inch RS alloy wheels are shod with 225/40-section tyres and apart from lacking its rear spoiler, the RS dCi is externally identical to the petrol RS five-door.

More sporting RenaultSport highlights abound inside too, including aluminium pedals, a leather steering wheel and seats with increased lateral support.

Assembled at the same Dieppe plant as other Renault Sport models, the Megane RS dCi bodyshell is first produced at the company’s Palencia plant in Spain.

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