While the all-wheel steer chassis of the current Megane RS has consistently split opinion, one thing most people can agree on is that this is the looker of hot hatchdom in 2019. Renault Sport’s wide-arched and purposefully squat five-door has a sweet blend of aggression and maturity, and that mix has arguably become the car’s biggest pull factor in its battle against the Civic Type R. It therefore comes as little surprise to see that design alterations due with the facelifted Megane RS in 2020 will be minimal, with the only visible changes to a spied test car located in the internals of its front and rear lights.
Note the cleaner design in the cluster of the photographed Meg’s headlights, where two new horizontal LED strips are the most notable additions. The trend continues at the back, where the white upper section of the present RS’s light strips are now coloured red, making for a simpler design – and backing suggestion that Renault will further contrast the cluttered design of Honda’s class-leading hot hatch. Nevertheless, it won’t shift too far from the 2018 original, hence bumpers, wings and even wheels that are recognisable from today’s model. We’re guessing it’s a similar story inside, too.
Will Renault Sport up the performance of its turbocharged 1.8-litre? We know the four-pot can handle 300hp thanks to the Trophy, but unless the following facelift of that car gets a bump in power – and so far, few have even bothered to speculate such a scenario – it seems unlikely that Renault Sport would want to shrink the advantage. The division has been saying since its Megane launched in 2018 that handling and driveability are the main priorities, which it emphasised by breaking the front-wheel drive lap record at the ‘Ring with the lighter but no more powerful (and £70k) Trophy-R. So perhaps the standard car will retain 280hp but receive a few tweaks underneath.
The present Megane’s ride is pretty firm, especially when compared to the adaptive damper Civic, which has an even broader range of ride adjustability than the Hyundai i30 N. It’s therefore plausible that Renault is working to extend the working range of the RS’s passive setup – the firm certainly has a good history in tuning shock absorbers with a facelift. Changes to the all-wheel steer setup are also possible, what with the present Megane RS’s two rotating axles yet to match the fluidity of Honda’s Civic chassis. Again, Dieppe’s engineers have history in bettering new hardware after an update.
The launch of Renault Sport’s updated Megane RS could therefore mark the point at which this generation finds its form. Don’t forget that it took an update to turn the previous Meg from slight disappointment to becoming a driver’s favourite – and then, eventually, a Renault Sport legend. Sure, the job might be a little harder given the complexity of today’s Megane, not to mention the supremacy of Honda’s rival and the excitement offered by Hyundai’s alternative. But with the Meg and last RS Clio failing to emulate the success of their predecessors, we’re expecting a big push from the French performance division. We’ll know more when the covers come off officially in the coming months, before cars hit the road in early 2020.