Megane R26.R – No Room For The Kids, But Who Cares?

Renaultsport Megane R26.R

Renaultsport’s new lighter Megane R26.R

The Renaultsport Megane R26.R has made its first public appearance at the British Motor Show, and it really is a belter.

By taking the already excellent Megane R26 and putting it on a crash diet Renault have managed to shed 123kgs, improving the power/weight ratio as well as sharpening chassis reponse. Mechanically very little has changed. The engine and transmission remain the same as the standard R26, meaning 230bhp and 229lb.ft of torque frmo the turbocharged 2.0-litre. The only significant mechanical changes are to the suspension, where new springs have been fitted to lower the car and give it even more body control. On top of that the car gets new grooved (instead of drilled) 312mm discs and new alloys that increase track by 4mm.

So how have Renault managed to make such significant weight savings? Well, have a look at the following list from Renault’s own press release:

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
  • tailgate and rear side windows in polycarbonate
  • Sabelt seats with carbon fibre shell and aluminium base

Talk about ruthless! No rear seats, no airbags??? This really makes the R26.R a very focused machine, and not for the faint-hearted, but at a limited run of just 450 cars I don’t think Renault will have any trouble selling them. With only 230 of those coming to the UK the R26.R will be a rare sight on the road, but you’ll have more luck seeing one at a track day as that will be the R26.R’s natural hunting ground.

The power/weight ratio increases from 169bhp/ton for the standard R26 to 186bhp/ton for the slim new model, with the 0-60mph time dropping to 6.0 seconds, an improvement of 0.2 seconds. The R26-R even improves on it’s C02 emissions, and at just 199g/km it manages to squeeze into a lower tax bracket than the standard car, so you’ll receive less punishment from the taxman.

So what options are available? You can have a titanium exhaust fitted, stick a roll cage in the back, and choose some semi-slick Toyo Proxes R888 225/40R18 tyres for even more cornering grip. Probably not the best choice for a wet country road, but fantastic for a dry track.

In fact the Toyo Proxes have helped contribute to the Megane R26.R gaining the record of the fastest lap of the Nurburgring for a front-wheel drive production car. Officially it has been clocked at 8:17, although early testing laps resulted in an unofficial time of 8:12. This is why the R26.R bears the circuit outlne and lap time in it’s side windows, and is something that Renault are keen to shout about.

The Megane R26.R is a car that takes the hot hatch idea to extremes. Some might say it goes too far, particularly in sacrificing items as important as the airbags, but personally I really admire the purity of purpose of the R26.R and congratulate Renault for taking such a bold approach.

The Megane R26.R goes on sale in October. While you’re waiting to put a deposit down, check out the car in action at the Nurburging:


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Author: Chris Auty

Voted the Breakthrough Blogger of 2013 by SEAT and the Guild of Motoring Writers , Chris has lived and breathed cars since he was old enough to say 'faster'. With a penchant for hot hatches and an allergy to public transport, he would much prefer to drive a bad car than never drive at all. Fortunately his family has learned to put up with this obsession and the internet has provided a channel for his ramblings.

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