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New models - Renault - Megane - Renault Sport dCi 175 5-dr hatch

First drive: Renault's sports oiler is priced to spoil

Diesel-do: Megane RS dCi 175 is $4000 cheaper than the petrol RS 225 Cup.

We drive Renault Sport's sub-$40K Megane diesel 'hot-hatch', due here in October

7 Aug 2008

RENAULT has revealed that its Megane diesel ‘hot-hatch’, launched to the media this week ahead of its official arrival in October, will be priced from $39,990.

This makes the X84-series Megane II Renault Sport (RS) dCi 175 the least expensive five-door hatch available here in the RS range, undercutting the petrol-powered RS 225 Cup by $4000 – although the three-door RS 225 comes in at $37,490.

The RS dCi 175 represents only the fourth sports-orientated, diesel-powered hatch after the Alfa Romeo 147 JTD M-jet, BMW 120d and recently released Volkswagen Golf GT Sport TDI.

But while the French car undercuts the Bavarian by more than $8000 and is priced lineball with the Italian car, it is $1500 more expensive than the Golf. Furthermore, VW offers the dual-clutch DSG version for $200 less than the price of the Renault.

Nevertheless, the Megane RS dCi 175 promises to be a far more dedicated hatch than all of its rivals, thanks to a number of comprehensive modifications undertaken by the Renault Sport division.

35 center imageUnder the bonnet is a high-performance version of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder common-rail turbo-diesel, delivering 127kW of power at 3750rpm and 360Nm of torque at 2000rpm. Driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, the dCi 175’s 0-100km/h time of 8.3 seconds is around 1.8 seconds slower than its RS 225 sibling.

However, thanks to efficiency-enhancing features like a variable-geometry turbocharger and piezoelectric injectors, the RS dCi 175 does give the distinctly strong impression of an economy car.

Renault has also revealed that the Australian-bound RS dCi 175 can return a combined cycle fuel consumption average of 6.3L/100km and CO2 emissions of 165g/km.

As reported previously, the RS dCi 175 uses a variation of the chassis developed for the turbo-petrol models.

It comprises a 20mm-diameter front anti-roll bar and independent steering-axis front suspension, but spring and damper settings have been tuned specifically to accommodate the 80kg-heavier diesel engine.

The RS 225’s programmed-deflection flexible beam rear suspension is also employed, but the electronically variable power steering system is tuned specifically for the RS diesel’s unique weight distribution.

Brakes are by Brembo, meaning 312x28mm ventilated front discs and 300x11mm solid rears, with four-piston callipers up front, while the European NCAP five-star safety-rated Megane’s ESP electronic stability control system is also part of the dCi’s standard equipment list.

Available only as a five-door hatch, Renault says that dCi 175 specification levels are almost lineball with the 225, and include leather upholstery, aluminium pedals, climate-control air-conditioning, automatic Xenon headlights, a six-stack in-dash CD player (with satellite controls), rain-sensing wipers, cruise control (with speed-limiter), electric windows, front and rear foglights, and 18-inch alloy wheels shod with 225/40 R18 tyres.

This is only the second Megane diesel variant to be offered in Australia, following the sedan available with a 96kW/300Nm (manual) and 96kW/260Nm (automatic) 1.9-litre four-cylinder engine option, in Expression and Privilege grades, released in the middle of 2006.

There is also a diesel-powered Scenic utilising Renault’s ageing 96kW/250Nm 1.9-litre dCi four-cylinder unit. The latest Renault Laguna III and upcoming Koleos SUV dCi use a detuned version of the Megane RS engine, delivering around 110kW and 340Nm.

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