By Renault Megane RS Ultimatethe French brand is saying goodbye to both its powerful petrol-powered hot hatch and its Renault Sport sub-brand.
Australia is set to get a few examples of the farewell edition before the petrol Megane range exits the local line-up this year and the Megane E-Tech Electric replaces it.
“We are working on securing Australian deliveries of this final edition Megane RS Ultime, which should be here for a mid-year launch. Final specifications and pricing will be confirmed,” said a Renault Australia spokesperson.
The RS Ultime, which will be revealed on January 13 at the Tokyo Auto Salon, will be the last model from the brand to carry the Renault Sport logo, with future Renault products to be sold under the expanded Alpine brand alongside bespoke models.
It wears bold matte black stripes – inspired by the refreshed Renault logo – on its roof, bonnet, rear bumper, doors and fenders. The year Renault Sport was founded, 1976, is written on the strip on the right side of the vehicle.
Logos, door handles, window frames, wheels, fender covers, rear diffuser and front bumper Formula 1 blades are all finished in black.
Exterior colors are limited to Star Black, Pearl White, Sirius Yellow and Tonic Orange.
In its press release, Renault also noted the inclusion of a central exhaust and 60mm wider front fenders and 45mm wider rear fenders, however these appear to be shared with the Trofi RS and not exclusive to the RS Ultime.
Inside, there are Recaro bucket seats trimmed in titanium black Alcantara upholstery and featuring an embroidered RS monogram, as well as unique door sills.
Every RS Ultime wears a numbered metal plaque on the center console signed by Laurent Hurgon, the driver and development specialist who worked on the Megane RS throughout its career and now holds the Nürburgring, Suzuka and Spa-Francorchamps records.
The stripe pattern on the outside is also extended to the key fob.
Standard equipment includes RS Vision LED headlights, a 9.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a Bose sound system, a 10-inch digital instrument cluster, adaptive cruise control and a surround view camera.
A sunroof and head-up display are the only options, but these are exclusive to left-hand drive vehicles. Renault will offer a specially designed cover, but it’s unclear if it will be offered here.
It rides on semi-slick Bridgestone Potenza S007s originally developed for the Megane RS Trophy R, wrapped in 19-inch Fuji Light wheels. Brembo dual-cast brakes with red calipers provide stopping power.
The RS Ultime is unchanged under the bonnet, featuring a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine produce 221kW power and 420Nm of torque.
Renault says the RS Ultime will use the RS Trophy’s six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission in Europe, potentially leaving the door open for a three-pedal option elsewhere. The RS Trophy is now offered with a choice of six-speed manual or dual-clutch local transmission.
“Megane RS represents my 15 years of work at Renault Sport. Since Megane II phase 2, we have constantly improved its dynamic performance to remain a leader in front-wheel drive sports cars,” said Laurent Hurgon, driver and development expert at Renault Group.
“The record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife is an unforgettable challenge, full of passion, adrenaline and emotion. And now, the Megane RS Ultime… I am very proud to sign the version that crowns this beautiful saga.”
Australia has long been a key buyer of the Megane RS – particularly for the older, manual-only three-door model that preceded today’s high-tech five-door offering. For years, Renault Australia has boasted about being in the top three markets, often alongside France and Japan.
Renault continues to offer the hot RS Trophy locally even as it has systematically gutted the entire Megane range. It sold 102 examples in 2022, down 17.1 percent from 2021.
With the smaller Clio RS killed off a few years ago, the Megane’s demise will leave Renault’s once-enviable pocket rocket cupboard looking empty.
In doing so, the French brand will take the same path as Ford Australia, which has killed off the Fiesta ST and Focus ST. The discontinuation comes as the hot hatch segment heats up in Australia, with the latest Toyota GR Corolla and Honda Civic Type R due out this year.
The Volkswagen Group also recently introduced the Cupra Leon to Australia, an internal rival to the Volkswagen Golf GTI and R.
The Renault Group’s next hot hatch will come from the Alpine brand and feature electric power only, with the brand set to offer a no-nonsense version of the reborn Renault 5 in 2024.
Renault Australia general manager Glen Sealey said he wanted to bring any new electric models he could here, even though the Alpine brand was inactive in the country – the A110 was discontinued because it could not meet the new ADR 85/00 side impact standards.
“There’s an exciting future, we’ve got great products coming,” Mr Sealey said Car Expert recently. “…Any new products announced from the EV side, we are ready for.”
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