Monday, January 18, 2010

Renault Megane R26.R: Fastest Front Wheel Drive Production Car on the ‘Ring with 8’17’’

The limited edition Renault Megane R26.R made its world premier today at the British International Motor Show. Virtually a track-ready version of the Megane RS 230 F1 Team R26, the R26.R may not have the forthcoming Focus RS’ 300Hp but according to Renault, on 23 June it established a new lap record for a front wheel drive production car of the Nürburgring circuit with a time of just 8 minutes 17 seconds.

Based on the Megane 230 F1 Team R26, the R26.R retains the same 230 Hp 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, 6-speed gearbox (albeit with a short-shift gear linkage) and limited slip differential but with a significant weight reduction of 123kg or 271 lbs. This was achieved with the removal of the rear seats, passenger and curtain airbags, A/C, rear wash/wipe and heated rear window, front fog lamps, headlamp washers, radio/CD player, most of the soundproofing. Moreover the R26.R obtained a carbon fibre bonnet (saves 7.5kg), tailgate and rear side windows in polycarbonate (saves 5.7kg), sabelt seats with carbon fibre shell and aluminum base (saves 25kg).-

Renault also upgraded the car’s suspension by re-calibrating the shock absorber settings and adding new front / rear springs and stiffer lower arm bushes. The brakes have also been updated with large 312mm ventilated discs at the front with Brembo four-piston calipers. To resist fade, the discs are grooved as opposed to drilled.

The R26.R accelerates from zero to 62mph (100 km/h) in 6 sec and passes the 1000 meter mark in 25.9 sec. Not that anyone interested in a car like this would car but the R26.R’s combined fuel consumption is 33.2 mpg UK (8.5 lt/100km or 27.7 mpg US) and emissions are 199g/km.

On the outside the R26.R can be distinguished from the carbon fibre bonnet and new 18” alloy wheels in red or black together with a new rear spoiler, plus R26.R decals and logos and tinted polycarbonate in place of glass in the tailgate and rear side windows. Additionally, the car’s ‘Ring time is etched on the windows. Renault’s track ready Megane R26.R is available in seven colors, two of which are new to the Megane, Racing Blue and Lunar Grey and one is totally brand new, Pearlescent White.

Inside the R26.R features competition seats with a carbon fibre shell and six-point harnesses -the first time that this form of restraint has been homologated in a production car. Also the steering wheel and gearlever gaiter are in leather and suede. Furthermore, buyers can opt for a full roll cage.

The Megane R26.R will go on sale in October but production limited to just 450 examples in total - 230 for the UK, 126 for France, 26 for Spain, 26 for Switzerland and 26 for Germany In the UK, the price for Renault’s radical Megane has been set at £22,990 OTR ($46,000 or €29,000).

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