The current king of the hot hatches, as crowned by the Nürburgring, is the Seat Leon Cupra. And Renault is none too happy about that. It did, after all, hold the Nordschleife lap record for front-drive cars for several years, first with the Mégane II-based R26.R and then with the third-gen Mégane Trophy. And now it's working on another.
Collaborating with the likes of Michelin, Akrapovic, Öhlins and BRM, Renaultsport is aiming for a sub-8-minute lap time that will – it surely hopes – unseat Seat from its position on the leaderboards, where it currently stands at 7:58.4. It hinted as much a couple of weeks ago and, after releasing a couple more teaser shots, has now revealed this video to give us an idea of what it's working on.
Aside from the center-exit Akrapovic exhaust with its carbon-fiber tip, there's not a lot to glean from the video below, but there is one thing that caught our eye: the prototype is running all four wheels on the dyno, making us wonder if it might be running all-wheel drive. Renault hasn't done all-wheel drive before with one of its hot hatches, but then it hadn't been known for turbos and DCTs before it launched the latest Clio RS, which has both.
The Mégane is based on the same platform that underpins crossovers like the Nissan Rogue, Qashqai and Renault Koleos, so it wouldn't be entirely out of the question. But if it went that route, it wouldn't be eligible for the front-drive record, putting it in the same AWD hot hatch category as the Volkswagen Golf R and Subaru WRX STI. But then we could, of course, be reading too much into the dyno footage. One way or another, we'll find out soon enough.