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Renault understates RS power

Less is more: Renault admits to understating the output of its Megane RS250 hot hatch.

Megane RS250 produces as much as 32kW more power than stated, admits Renault

Renault logo16 Apr 2012

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in PARIS

RENAULTSPORT has revealed that it purposely publishes power output figures for its now-superseded Megane RS250 range that are understated by 10 per cent or more.

Speaking to the Australian media at Renault Sport Technologies’ headquarters in Paris, the company’s international zone manager, Jean Calcat, said he believes that the policy of understatement is a sure-fire way of pleasantly exceeding customer expectations.

On sale in Australia since November 2010, the Megane RS250 officially produces 184kW (or 250bhp) at 5500rpm and 340Nm at 3000rpm, yet independent tests around the world have recorded power figures as high as 216kW.

“When (independent testers) put the car on the dyno to check the power, it has been a little bit embarrassing because every time we do this, with the car independently tested in Australia, in Singapore and in Japan, we came back with power that is way over 250bhp,” Mr Calcat said.

“One we tested in Australia came back with 287bhp (211kW) and another 294bhp (216kW).

35 center imageLeft: Renault Megane RS265.



“We don’t communicate that officially, but if you remember in the early 1980s, a lot of manufacturers were (claiming something) like 160bhp, and the cars for the press were doing 160bhp, but when you take the car that was sold to the customer it was hardly doing 135bhp.

“With this car it is the opposite – we know of some customers who get 20bhp and maybe 30bhp more than what we officially declare – but we have to do that, because we don’t want to declare too much power. We just want the customer to say ‘my car is great, I love it’. We are comfortable with that.”

Whether the upcoming RS265, due out in October as part of the Megane Collection 2012 Phase II facelift, similarly exceeds its power figures remains to be seen. The official outputs for that car are 196kW and 360Nm.

“The worst engine that will ever come from the Cleon factory will never be under the 265bhp minimum we have announced officially,” Mr Calcat promises of the newcomer.

“And this is why, when you guys do performance measurement, we come out looking good.”

With very minor visual changes to boast about, Mr Calcat admits that the RS265’s performance upgrade will probably be the only real headline feature for fans in Australia.

He said the power hike was driven by the marketing team, which deemed it necessary against advancing rival hot hatches like the Ford Focus ST and Opel Astra GTC.

“To be honest, it is a very minor adjustment from a cosmetic point of view because the car really works,” said Mr Calcat.

“The car wins most of its comparisons around the world – it is in front or in the top two or three of its top competitors.

“The major change is we have slightly more power. It is not that the car really needed more power, but it needed to play catch-up with its competitors.

“When you are in the hot hatch world, you always need to come with more – I don’t know until when, but that is the idea. Our competitors like Opel with the Astra GTC now comes with 280bhp and you never know when it will stop.

“We think the car is good enough and we don’t need to say we are the more powerful car. We think all in all we have the best car, but still we wanted to say something from a marketing point of view, and that is the additional five or six per cent (more power) that we have put into the car.”

Australia is now officially the third-largest RS250 market in the world after France and Germany.

“Renault Australia is what we consider at Renaultsport to be a ‘redline’ market.

“We have Sport chassis and we have Cup chassis. (Sport) is what we call a softer version for some European markets, but Australia is like the UK and Japan where the customers are knowledgeable and really want the top level of performance.”

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