Renault’s go-fast Megane R.S. hot hatch is in for a mid-life nip and tuck

Revealed at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, the current-generation Renault Megane R.S. is due for its mid-life nip and tuck. The coming of such a revamped model is backed up by a set of photos sent it by our spy photographers, who caught the French hot hatch completely free of camouflage during what looks a lot like a pre-production test run.

In all fairness, we don’t expect Renault to operate a lot of changes on the facelifted Megane R.S., which is already a mature model both in terms of exterior design and drivetrain. The cockpit, however, does leave some room for improvement especially in the technology and material quality areas. Renault knows this all too well and is surely working to tweak things in this regard, but take a closer look at the spy shots and you’ll spot a couple of other cosmetic changes as well. Let’s check them out.

Exterior

  • New headlights
  • Tweaked taillights
  • Mayne new body colors
  • Decal packs are a possibility
left right

You’ll have to take a good look at the press photos to see the tweaks, but they’re there. As a result,

the facelifted Renault Megane R.S. will sport a new headlight design in the front doubled by new graphics for the taillights.

And that’s pretty much it as far as we can tell. But as it’s customary for virtually every revamp these days, Renault might throw in a couple of new wheel designs and even body color joined by decal graphic packs - unless the French carmaker decides to unlock those for future special editions of the Megane R.S.

If the final revamped model looks like this particular test mule, then expect the large, rhombus-shaped Renault crest to still dominate the front grille flanked by the aggressively-styled headlights. Below them sits what Renault calls R.S. Vision, or a lighting setup that comprises multi-reflector blocks that contain nine LEDs shaped in a chequered flag pattern. Between them sits the signature F1-like spoiler blade. Size-wise, the R.S. will remain wider than the regular Megane, thanks to front and rear haunches extended by 2.36 inches and 1.77 inches, respectively.

Interior

  • Largely the same
  • New materials could be used inside
  • New trim options are also a possibility
  • The well-balanced sportiness-comfort ratio will be retained
2018 Renault Megane R.S. High Resolution Interior
- image 730846

Renault might operate some changes inside, but don’t expect fireworks of any kind. The R.S.’ interior already screams sports car and hot hatch simultaneously thanks to a sporty steering wheel and a selection of red accents spread throughout the cockpit. The performance-oriented setting is complemented by the aluminum pedals, gear lever and, let’s not forget, the bucket seats.

For the facelift, we reckon Renault might play around with the cabin ambiance, introduce a couple of new materials and trim options, but nothing beyond that.

Sportiness aside, the R.S. is still a Megane, so it hasn’t been stripped off of the regular suspects when it comes to creature comfort. That is, you still get cruise control, dual-zone heating and air conditioning, LED lighting, heated side mirrors, and power windows. Plus, the seats are also comfortable while also offering high levels of support that you’d normally find inside a fully-blown sports car.

Drivetrain

  • No changes for the facelift
  • 1.8-liter turbo engine
  • 275 hp
  • 287 lb-ft of torque
  • 0-62 mph in 5.8 seconds
  • 155 mph top speed for the EDC (158 mph for the manual)
2020 Renault Megane R.S. Exterior Spyshots
- image 859273

At this point, we can’t talk about any engine or gearbox upgrades for the revised Renault Megane R.S.

This means that until further info surfaces, the tweaked go-fast Megane will continue to rely on the familiar 1.8-liter turbocharged and direct-injected mill.

It’s good for 205 kW (275 horsepower) at 6,000 rpm and 390 Nm (287.6 pound-feet) of torque available in the 2,400 rpm to 6,000 rpm band. What’s more, Renault is offering the Megane R.S. with a choice of two gearboxes. One’s the six-speed dual-clutch EDC unit while the other, aimed at purists, is a six-speed manual. With the EDC, the Renault Megane R.S. can sprint from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour) in 5.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 250 kilometers per hour (155 miles per hour). When the manual is specified, the R.S. also needs 5.8 seconds to clear the aforementioned sprint, but can reach a top speed of 255 kilometers per hour (158 miles per hour).

2020 Renault Megane R.S. Exterior Spyshots
- image 859259
That said, we don’t think that Renault is going to weak the R.S. as far as performance is concerned.

The main reason behind that is the Megane R.S. 300 Trophy, an amped-up version of the R.S. which gets 300 PS (296 horsepower). To boost the R.S. to a higher power output would mean to breach into the 300 Trophy’s territory, which should be subsequently tweaked to make more horsepower, a move that would render its nameplate redundant.

Renault Megane R.S. specifications
Type of engine (injection/turbo) 4-cylinder turbo direct injection
Capacity (cm3) 1798
Bore x stroke (mm) 79.7 x 90.1
Number of cylinders/valves 16
Max. power 275 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Max. torque 287 LB-FT @ 2,400 RPM
Transmission Dual-clutch EDC automatic gearbox
0-100 km/h (s) 5.8
Top Speed 255 km/h (158.5 mph)

Prices

2020 Renault Megane R.S. Exterior Spyshots
- image 859271

Since the Megane R.S. isn’t available in the U.S., we’ll refer to the hot hatch’s price tag in Europe. More precisely, the Megane R.S. can be had for a starting price of €38,300 in France, while in Germany, you’ll have to pay at least €34,890 to get one. Once the revised model hits the market there, we expect it to demand a starting sticker of around €40,000 in France and €36,000 in Germany.

Competition

Honda Civic Type R

2017 Honda Civic Type R: Life Behind the Wheel
- image 754703

The Japanese go-fast machine has been a long-time rival for the Renault Megane R.S. and things haven’t changed for the current generation. Unlike the Megane R.S., however, the Type R can be had on both U.S. and European soil. There’s a catch, though. The EU version makes 320 PS / 314 horsepower and 400 Newton-meters of torque, while the U.S. model has to make do with 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. That’s nine horsepower less and the same torque as the European version. Other than that, the Type R has retained its hardcore machine status over time, something that doesn’t apply entirely for the current Megane RenaultSport, which has softened down a notch compared to previous generations.

Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Civic Type R

Ford Focus RS

Here's a Preview of What the Ford Focus ST and Focus RS Might Look Like
- image 777109

The Ford Focus RS (RS is short for Rallye Sport) makes use of a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine slapped with a low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger. The mill is good for 350 PS (that’s 345 horsepower) fully unlocked at 6,000 rpm and 440 Nm (350 pound-feet) of torque unleashed between 2,000 and 4,500 rpm. The driver could also unlock a reserve of 30 Nm (22 pound-feet) for a limited period of 15 seconds on transient overboost, but only during heavy acceleration. With every bit of grunt sent to all four corners through an all-wheel-drive setup with Dynamic Torque Vectoring developed by Ford Performance, the Focus RS could blast from naught to 60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 165 miles per hour. The said smart setup was also the main culprit behind the RS’ much-praised levels of grip. Power goes to the asphalt through a six-speed manual gearbox, but the driver gets access to gimmicks such as launch control and a drift mode.

Read our full review on the 2020 Ford Focus RS

Conclusion

2020 Renault Megane R.S. Exterior Spyshots
- image 859259

The facelifted Renault Megane R.S. is approaching its reveal date and while we’re excited to see what’s in store for the hot hatch, Renault is likely to tweak the visual side of things and leave the mechanicals intact. Fret not, the R.S. will still be a hoot to drive thanks to its already capable drivetrain, but a power bump is simply out of question for the time being, since a souped up R.S. would cannibalize the R.S. 300 Trophy. Minus the minor tweaks in the cabin, if any, the revamp will focus on the exterior and will be, most likely, reflected by the price tag.

  • Leave it
    • less hardcore than previous generations
    • doesn’t offer AWD
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
About the author

Related Articles

2019 Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R

2018 Renault Megane R.S.

2017 Renault Megane Sedan

2016 Renault Mégane GT

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: