Watch out Type R? Kiwi pricing confirmed for Renault's 'Le Rocket Ship' RS
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Renault New Zealand is relaunching its brand here, with the Megane RS hot hatch leading the way as it aims to attract new customers to the French manufacturer.
Renault NZ’s general manager, Henry Belt, told media at the Megane RS track reveal at Hampton Downs that 2019 will be the year for the brand to gain traction again in the New Zealand market.
“Sales are increasing 50 per cent year-on-year … and our price adjustment of $5000 on some of the vehicles should see a bigger lift,” said Belt.
Already for sale here are the Koleos and Captur SUVs, Megane GT while the Zoe hatch EV will get an upgrade later this year.
Renault also has an extensive range of vans, including the electric Kangoo.
But the Megane RS was the star of the line-up of Renault products at Hampton Downs, with the starting price of $59,990 for the manual and $62,990 for the automatic.
Belt said initial take up would be the manual before automatics take the lead.
The Megane RS has five driving modes: neutral, sports, comfort, race and personal. It's powered by a 1.8-litre petrol engine producing 205kW of power and 390Nm of torque.
The French hot hatch also stands out thanks to 4Control, Renault’s advanced four-wheel-steer system, available for the first time in the hot hatch.
At speeds of less than 60km/h (or at 100km/h in Race mode), the front and rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to give increased agility, particularly through tight corners. At speeds over 60km/h (or 100km/h in Race mode), the front and rear wheels turn in the same direction for increased stability.
The 4Control system at below 60km/h helps drivers to position the car on the right line through corners in order to accelerate as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
The system came to the fore at the Hampton Downs reveal during a slalom test, where the hot hatch wound smoothly around the cones at speed, while in sport mode on the track, the crackling of the exhaust and the smooth gear movement was exhilarating.
• Driven will have a full Renault Megane RS road test shortly