• Jul 22, 2008
While most of our recent hot hatch affection has been aimed at the Ford Focus RS, Renault brought its own racy three-door to the London Motor Show party, and now we're torn. Admittedly, the Focus RS is easily the more suitable day-to-day driver – it's got a full interior and air conditioning -- but the Renaultsport Megane R26.R has all the kit for a serious track-day assault. Hell, it even has two Rs in its name.

With the new Megane slated to appear at this year's Paris Motor Show, Renault wanted to give the current model a fitting send off. To that end, it took the existing Megane F1 Team R26, left the engine, gearbox and limited slip differential intact, modified the suspension and hacked off 271 pounds from its curb weight. The diet included the removal of the rear seats, passenger side airbag, climate control, fog lamps, headlight washers, rear windscreen wiper and the majority of the soundproofing material. In exchange, the R26.R received a carbon fiber hood, polycarbonate quarter and rear windows and a titanium exhaust.

Inside, the Renaultsport hatch makes the RS look positively pedestrian, with a set of carbon fiber Sabelt seats, six-point harnesses, leather and suede swathed steering wheel and gear knob, and an optional four-point roll cage. While output remains the same, at 230 hp and 229 lb.-ft. of torque, the stripped R26.R lapped the Nurburgring in 8:17 – a new lap record for a front wheel drive production car.

Only 450 examples will be made available when sales begin in the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland and Spain this October. And unlike the Chevy Camaro, Renault released a video of the R.26R doing it's thing around the 'Ring... three seconds faster. Check it, along with the press release, below the fold.





PRESS RELEASE

The Mégane Renaultsport 230 F1 Team R26 was launched in November 2006 and has enjoyed a great success. Using this base, Renaultsport launch an extreme version, the Mégane Renaultsport R26.R.
  • New limited edition Mégane Renaultsport R26.R makes its worldwide debut at the British International Motor Show today, 22 July, 2008
  • Developed from the Mégane Renaultsport 230 F1 Team R26, the R26.R retains the same engine, gearbox and limited slip differential but with a significant weight reduction of 123kg
  • Achieves new lap record of the Nürburgring of 8m 17s, the fastest for a front-wheel-drive production car
  • Features from the world of racing with a carbon bonnet, polycarbonate windows, Sabelt race seats and six-point harnesses
  • Optional roll cage and titanium exhaust
  • Priced at £22,990
  • Limited to 450 examples worldwide, 230 of which will come to the UK. On sale from October
Developed by Renault Sport Technologies, the Mégane R26.R joins the family that also comprises the Clio Renaultsport 197, Mégane Renaultsport 225, Mégane Renaultsport dCi 175 and, from September, the Twingo Renaultsport 133. Since the launch in April 2004, the family of Mégane Renaultsport has sold more than 20,000 units in almost 30 countries.

The launch of this ultimate version underlines Renault Sport Technologies' role as a leading manufacturer of high performance cars.

Mégane R26.R has been developed to:
  • offer customers who enjoy trackdays a car with an unrivalled performance per pound ratio
  • be an enthusiast's icon
Radical looks
Renault Sport Technologies have given the Mégane R26.R visual differences that mark out the car at first glance. The carbon fibre bonnet and new 18" alloy wheels in red are the main visual clues together with a new rear spoiler, plus R26.R decals and logos and tinted polycarbonate in place of glass in the tailgate and rear side windows. The car is available in seven colours, two of which are new to the Mégane, Racing Blue and Renault i.d. Lunar Grey and one is brand new, Renault i.d. Pearlescent White.

Inside the R26.R the atmosphere is as radical as the outside. Competition seats with a carbon fibre shell are supplied by Sabelt who also supply the six-point harnesses, the first time that this form of restraint has been homologated in a production car. Conventional lap and diagonal seat belts can be fitted as an accessory. No rear seat is fitted. The steering wheel and gearlever gaiter are in leather and suede. A plaque shows the production number for each country:
  • 230 for the UK
  • 126 for France
  • 26 for Spain
  • 26 for Spain
  • 26 for Germany
Lightweight DNA
To improve the power to weight ratio, the Mégane R26.R has been on a strict diet, losing 123kg compared to the standard R26. This has been achieved by the removal of:
  • Rear seats and seat belts
  • Passenger airbag and curtain airbags (the driver's airbag remains)
  • Climate control (air conditioning remains as standard)
  • Rear wash/wipe and heated rear window
  • Front fog lamps
  • Headlamp washers
  • Radio/CD player
  • Most of the soundproofing
Other new elements are:
  • carbon fibre bonnet (saves 7.5kg)
  • tailgate and rear side windows in polycarbonate (saves 5.7kg)
  • Sabelt seats with carbon fibre shell and aluminium base (saves 25kg)
  • Six-point harnesses
  • Rear spoiler
  • Optional roll cage
  • Optional titanium exhaust
A chassis without compromise
The suspension and brakes have been optimised to make the most of the new, lighter weight and to provide maximum performance. The front independent suspension is maintained but with the following new parts:
  • new front springs (14mm/100kg compared to 13.4mm/100kg)
  • new rear springs (16.2mm/100kg from 15.1mm/100kg)
  • the shock absorber settings are also re-calibrated
  • the brake discs are grooved, not drilled
  • new alloy wheels are fitted with a different offset increasing the track by 4mm
  • Toyo Proxes R888 225/40R18 tyres are available as an option in place of the standard Michelin Pilot Sport 2 235/40R18
  • Stiffer lower arm bushes
To guarantee the best possible traction, the R26.R retains the limited slip differential from the Mégane Renaultsport 230 F1 Team R26. This is a mechanical differential with helical teeth and retains the same transfer rate of 33 of the torque available from 2000 to 6000rpm.

However, to reduce the gear change time, a short-shift gear linkage is fitted.

The R26.R accelerates from zero to 62mph in 6 seconds and passes the 1000 metre mark in 25.9 seconds. The combined fuel consumption is 33.2 mpg and emissions are 199g/km.

Nürburgring lap record
On 23 June, the Mégane R26.R established a new lap record for a front wheel drive production car of the Nürburgring circuit with a time of just 8 minutes 17 seconds. To commemorate this exceptional level of performance, the circuit outline and lap time is etched into the rear side windows.

The Mégane R26.R is unveiled today, 22 July, in London at the British International Motor Show and goes on sale in October limited to just 450 examples in total.



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I agree that American buyers tend to be very conservative in their tastes and seem to recoil at anything different, but the Megane, although a brave attempt at originality, offers nothing useful in return for its 'challenging' appearance. I have looked and looked at these, and a friend had the loan of one a while back, and I still think it is plug ugly. It also has one of those damned stupid start buttons which requires the insertion of a card into a slot and then a separate movement to press-start the engine. Ergonomic madness and enough on its own to rule the car out as a possible purchase. It isn't even Renault comfortable.
        • 6 Years Ago
        As a Megane owner I find nothing inconvenient about the start-up procedure, much more satisfying than a traditional key in my opinion.

        I'm not sure why you assume an original design should offer something 'useful' over the competition, the fact that it stands out from more mainstream offerings is enough to justify it's stylistic freedom.

        You're not one of those 'conservative' American consumers are you?
        • 6 Years Ago
        No Matthew, I like to think I am up for a design challenge: I have a Fiat Doblo for God's sake! But I don't think the Renault attempt at marque differentiation has been successful. Oddly enough I liked the Vel Satis and the Aventime, particularly the latter, but it was badly put together and rear access was a pig. Therefore, style over design, which I don't go for, unless it really works. I think the Mercedes CLS Coupe or whatever it's called is a very beautiful for example, even if the cabin is claustrophobic and the rear room compromised.
        But I really can't see how that card and button start system beats a simple key and turn? Still, if you like it, why not...
      • 6 Years Ago
      "And unlike the Chevy Camaro, Renault released a video of the R.26R doing it's thing around the 'Ring... three seconds faster."

      WHOA.

      Seriously? The Cobalt SS -- fully optioned -- lags this French strippo by 5 seconds. If there was a Cobalt Spec-R or some other limited edition track/performance model, it'd probably bitch slap the Renault up and down the Champs Elysse.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Did you read the article before your reply to my post? I think there's a pretty big difference when comparing a stock Cobalt SS that's available to anyone who wants one and this limited ed. R26R Super R Spec R RR.

        "...The diet included the removal of the rear seats, passenger side airbag, climate control, fog lamps, headlight washers, rear windscreen wiper and the majority of the soundproofing material." My guess is that those poly windows would scratch up pretty easily on the street after a few thousand miles, too.

        All I'm saying is that Renault is trying to compare a track star with some off-the shelf street cars, and it's not an apples to apples showdown.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Really? The difference between the R26R and the regular R26 is just the weight and some aestetic mods.The engine, the chassis and the differential is the same so it is not really a "spec-v".Even like this the kg/bhp is better in a Cobalt with 5.18kg/bhp, comparing with 5.34kg.bhp and is still slower with 5 sec(as much as is between a Ferrari 355gtb and the R26R.It is no doubt wich car is better as bias as some of us are...
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Velsatis
        R26.R has R-compound tires, that alone accounts for at least 15 seconds at N'ring. Put the same tires on Cobalt SS and it will be faster.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Very nice, always nice to see new French cars.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Think you are trying to knock the SS though. It isn't far behind this car and is actually a mass market vehicle here in the states instead of a low volume special build like this R26.R"
      Where in the world have U seen that the Cobalt SS is a mass market vehicule ? Even the regular one is not!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's not ugly, it looks match it's purpose. Mainly, awesomeness.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It would look ok if the ass wasn't so weird looking, but who cares with a hatch that fast
        • 6 Years Ago
        The faster it is, the more important becomes how it looks from the back...
      • 6 Years Ago
      I may get Low Ranked, but:

      OH MY GOD THIS THING IS FUGLY!
      • 6 Years Ago
      "And unlike the Chevy Camaro, Renault released a video of the R.26R doing it's thing around the 'Ring... three seconds faster."

      Well. You know, allegedly.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Allegedly", since the Camaro's time wasn't proven yet. Sheesh, people. So quick to diss.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don’t like it. I was never been a very big fan of Renault. The only model that I liked was Laguna. This? I don’t like it at all.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That's why French cars and many other European cars aren't sold in the US. Americans like the typical enormous pick up, the typical large sedan and the typical SUV. Never you'll see an modern, fresh and interesting car design in the US.
      • 6 Years Ago
      @ Jasaero
      I apologize if I ofended the cobalt fans, but this was not my intention.R26 and R26R are not cars made with huge budget or engeneered radically different from the regular Meganes. There are helped a bit with the chassis(stiffer and lower), when the engine is just the same with the regular Megane RS(if u don't count 5 bhp difference). Is just the fact that they are building with no doubt the best hatches in the world for many years now(see R5 turbo, Renault Clio Williams, Renault Clio V6, Clio Renaultsport 182 .....).And tha amazing part is the way they manage to build pocket rockets out of almost nothing. To be more precise I mentioned in one of these posts that cobalt has more bhp, better weight/power ratio, and still 5 sec slower wich is more than the difference between BMW M5, RWD with a weight ratio of 3.60kg/bhp and 507hp and the R26R with less than half the power and the weight ratio of 5.34kg/bhp. As I lived in Europe and USA as well I had the chance to drive from Yugo to Lamborgini or Ferrari and there is NO comparison between the handling of a RS(R26R should be even better) and any Chevy(except Corvette).
      • 6 Years Ago
      Awesome car -- ugly sounding motor
        • 6 Years Ago
        I have no idea where the mic was for this video, but trust me (previous Megane RS owner) it does not sound like that.
    • Load More Comments