47 years of Renaultsport has come to a close with a special edition of the Megane R.S.
In 1976 Renaultsport became the sporty sub division of Renault and since then it's produced some of the world’s best hot hatches, plus a few iconic race cars in Formula One, WRC and even Formula E. Defunct in 2021, the brand has somewhat belatedly launched a final fling in the shape of the new Megane R.S. Ultime.
Based in Dieppe, France, Renaultsport’s final product is based on the Renault Megane R.S. Trophy and only 1,976 will be built (a nod to the year the company was founded). Unveiled at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, the Ultime features some cosmetic changes to help it stand out, although its mechanicals are unchanged over the Trophy.
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New graphics appear on the roof, bonnet, side and rear bumper are inspired by Renault’s new logo and 1976 is inscribed on the right hand side of the car. Four paint finishes are available on the Ultime, Star Black, Pearl White, Tonic Orange and Sirius Yellow. The wheel arches have been tweaked with a 60mm wider front and 45mm wider rear, to give it an even more imposing stance. New side air vents coupled with R.S. Vision headlights and that huge central exhaust also add to the Ultime’s look.
Some influence has come from the hardcore Megane Trophy-R, although only in the form of track-focused Bridgestone Potenza S007 semi-slicks. There’s also Renault’s ‘Fuji Light’ 19-inch wheels, lowered Cup suspension and the Trophy’s 4CONTROL four-wheel steer system.
The engine remains unchanged over the Trophy’s with a 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder producing 300bhp and 420Nm of torque. Only the automatic EDC gearbox will be available in Europe, sending power through a mechanical differential resulting in a 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds.
Inside the Ultime there are Recaro bucket seats with Alcantara upholstery (the same as what you’ll find in the Trophy) but what is different is the numbered door sills and signature of Laurent Hurgon on the centre console. Hurgon was Renault’s development driver for the Megane R.S. and broke the front-wheel drive lap record at the Nürburgring in the Megane Trophy-R.
Sadly, Renault has said the Ultime isn’t coming to the UK – although right-hand drive models have been produced for the Japanese market. There’s no word on pricing but expect a price tag significantly higher than the £36,995 the old Trophy demanded
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