It’s like 1993 all over again as Renault’s F1 engine supply business allows them to tease the world with an ultra-limited edition hot hatch.
We’re taking a look at what you’ll be getting if you’re one of the thirty – yes thirty – customers lucky enough to get hold of the Megane RB8.
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One of the greatest hot hatches ever to grace the roads was conceived as a Formula One tie-in between Renault and the dominant manufacturer of the day.
Of course fortunes change quickly in motorsports, but once again Renault finds itself supplying its engines to an all-conquering brand that doesn’t make its own road cars, but with the benchmark being Renault’s own Clio Williams limited edition this new Red Bull-badged Megane has mighty big shoes to fill.
It’s a good start, mind. As with the Williams (based on the Clio 2.0 RSi), the Megane is built from an already pretty potent machine. The Megane Renaultsport 265 forms the basis of the RB8 and the Trophy version of that already holds the honour of being the fastest front-wheel drive production car ever to lap the Nrburgring.
The Megane RB8 bears very close resemblence to the Megane 265 Cup, featuring the same engine, differential, suspension and braking of the normal car, but it’ll wear the very same Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tyres that helped the Trophy edition to that Nrburgring lap time.
If Red Bull’s signature Twilight Blue paint with platinum hints and bespoke leather and fabric interior weren’t enough to let you know this is a special edition, there’s nary a surface inside or out not adorned with Red Bull branding and logos – even the rear windows bear a laurel in honour of the 2012 F1 Constructors’ title.
The interior also features an upgrade to the Renaultsport Monitor information system that will become standard across the Renaultsport range – combining navigation with telemetry – along with a new built-in R-Link multimedia tablet.
Like the Clio Williams, this Megane will be available in very limited number – just thirty are destined for the UK when orders open in June (and optimistically close in September), though prices have not yet been announced.
Bearing very little relation to Sebastian Vettel’s work vehicle Hungry Heidi, it’s easy to accuse Renault and Red Bull of a cheeky cash-in – effectively stickering up an existing car in a very loose connection. But that would require one to forget just what a stellar car is underneath the Megane RB8 and the sheer brilliance of its predecessor, the Clio Williams.
Still, punters old enough to remember just how good the Williams was will probably remember that it was also a limited edition… until the Williams 2 was released to cover demand, angering a great many Williams owners. They were even less chuffed when a Williams 3 then followed.
Let’s hope Renault sticks to its strengths and learns from its mistakes…
For more information check out our full summary of the Renault Megane Renaultsport alongside reviews, stats, photos and videos!