No delays for Renault Megane RS in Oz

No delays for Renault Megane RS in Oz

Next-gen hot hatch set to arrive early 2018 but Alpine sports car is under a cloud.

4 July 2017 16:28
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There's good news, and bad news, for fans of fiesty French sports cars.
Renault Australia has confirmed its next-generation Megane RS will be straight on the boat Down Under, launching locally early next year and ensuring Australia is among the first countries in the world to sell the highly-anticipated hot hatch. But, for those wanting something a little more unique, the arrival of Renault Sport's sub-brand, Alpine, and the retro A110 mid-engined coupe, is now under a cloud of doubt.
Ready to be revealed in full at September's Frankfurt motor show, Renault is continuing its tease of the new five-door-only hatch, revealing that it will come with both manual or dual-clutch automatic (for the first time) transmissions. It will also score the brand's 4CONTROL four-wheel steering system that debuted in the Megane GT warm hatch.
Unlike the regular Megane that launched last year 15 months after its global reveal, but like the Koleos medium SUV that arrived immediately on our shores, Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar says the Megane RS will suffer no delays getting here.
"The good news for Australians is they won't have to wait any longer than any other market [for Megane RS]," he explained to Drive at the national launch of the Megane sedan and wagon in northern Victoria this week.
"As soon as right-hand drive production goes in, we'll be right in the mix from day one. Shipping times are about four weeks, so as soon as they start being built, whenever that is, it will be about four weeks after that.
"The only wait is the time it takes to send one out on the road."
Hocevar adds that it's "too early to say" what exact month in 2018 the Megane RS will arrive, but said it will lob locally during the first half of the year.
A loyal following is awaiting the new model after the Megane RS made a name for itself as one of the first models in its segment to boast front-wheel drive dynamics aided by the use of a mechanical limited-slip differential (LSD). Hocevar explains that, for this reason, Australia is prioritised as one of the first markets in the world to receive the new model.
"Australia is an important market for Renault Sport globally," he said.
"We rank consistently in the top five [for sales] and on previous-generation Megane we were, for a couple of years, the second-largest market after the domestic market [France].
"So, we're well known and loved by them and equally we love them back."
Engine size and power outputs are not yet detailed, and the Renault Australia managing director is giving nothing away about a local model lineup – including whether all models will be offered Down Under with both manual and auto transmissions.
"It [manual availability] has been announced globally [but] our local strategy has yet to be announced [so] I've got to keep my powder dry," he continues.
"I personally have been driving a manual Megane for the past five years, so I'm a keen manual driver."


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