Click above for gallery of the R26 R
Even though the official launch of the hot Renault R26 R isn't scheduled until the London Motor Show at the end of July, a couple pics of the race-ready hatch have been leaked. Powered by the same 169kW (225 hp) 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder as its sibling, the R26 Megane, the R26 R differs with a serious performance edge. The interior features a roll cage and carbon-fiber seats -- best to match the new carbon-fiber hood. The dual exhaust is upgraded to lightweight and corrosion-resistant titanium alloy. New bright-red 18-inch wheels shod with optional semi-slick tires connect the performance-tuned suspension to the asphalt. Compared to the Megane, the R model trims 125 kg (275 lbs) of weight, bringing it down to a svelte 1,235 kg (2,722 lbs). With a limited-slip differential driving the front wheels, performance is said to include a sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than six seconds, but we bet its true performance capabilities are much more evident carving curves on the track. Production of the R26 R will begin in November. As expected, don't plan on seeing any in the States.