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But wait – there’s more Renault Megane RS

Still around: Renault Megane RS hatches like this RS275 Trophy-R might be extinct in Europe, but Australian dealers still have RS stocks socked away.

Renault Australia stocks up to minimise Megane RS drought in model changeover

Renault logo25 Aug 2016

By RON HAMMERTON

RENAULT might have turned off the production tap for its third-generation Megane Renault Sport hot hatch in Europe in July, but Australian buyers can still lay their hands on one for now.

The French company’s Australian outpost says it stocked up on supplies of the RS to help bridge at least some of the gap between the demise of the existing Megane sports flagship and the launch of the next RS, possibly not until 2018.

This is not surprising, as the potent RS versions of the Megane and smaller Clio make up a greater percentage of sales here than in any other market.

The fourth-generation Megane will start rolling into Australia in standard five-door hatchback guise towards the end of this year, followed by the sedan (replacing the Korean-built Fluence) and wagon in the first half of 2017.

While the next Megane RS is already under development in Europe, it will bring up the rear in the model rollout, at least a year behind the cooking versions.

As always, however, it should be worth waiting for, with reports of even more grunt from a 2.0-litre turbo engine that is likely to be shared with Renault’s all-new mid-engine Alpine sports coupe.

As the three-door body has been consigned to Megane history, the next RS most likely will be packaged in the five-door hatchback that, like all new-generation Meganes, sits on the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s modular Common Family Module (CFM) platform.

In the United Kingdom, the last current-generation Megane RS to roll from the Palencia production line in Spain – a Liquid Yellow 275 Cup-S loaded with extras – is set to exit stage left from a Scottish dealership.

Although Renault Australia is not saying how many RS-enhanced Meganes are left in company and dealership stocks, it assures us it has examples available after “ordering up to extend its availability”.

Renault Australia’s website lists three versions: RS265 Cup at $44,990 driveaway, RS275 Cup Premium at $48,990 driveaway and the RS275 Trophy-R at $64,853 driveaway.

Renault Sport says it produced more than 30,000 of the hot hatches since the third-generation version was launched in 2009.

Back then, the RS250 was loaded with a 184kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine matched with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Later, power moved up to 195kW in the RS265 Cup, and then to 202kW with the RS275 Cup Trophy.

Through it all, Renault Sport kept the tweaks coming to ensure that the Megane RS remained the fastest front-wheel-drive car to lap the Nurburgring, most recently setting a blistering lap of 7 minutes 54.36 seconds.

The next-generation version will have to lifts game, with Honda’s blistering Civic Type R beating the Megane in 2015 with a lap time of 7:50.63.

Until the Megane RS IV happens along, the most powerful Megane variant in the new range will be the 151kW/280Nm Megane GT that employs the 1.6-litre turbo engine of the Clio RS.

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