Already a firm favourite amongst driving enthusiasts for its chassis and engine, the Mégane Renaultsport 250 is now turning it’s hand to privateer rallying in the shape of the Mégane Renaultsport N4. Developed for racing on asphalt, it draws upon a rich heritage of group N-homologated Renaults stretching back over a quarter of a century, including 5 GT Turbo, R11 Turbo, R21 2l Turbo, R19 16V, Clio Williams and Clio Renaultsport.
Intended to keep costs down, group N regulations impose strict rules on the modifications that can be made to the original car. This constraint works to the advantage of the Mégane Renaultsport N4, which gets the full benefit of the technology used on the production model.
The PerfoHub independent steering-axis front suspension design has allowed the engineers to put together a chassis that combines traction, directional stability and driving comfort in complete safety. First used at the end of the 1980s on the Superproduction version of the R21 Turbo, the independent steering-axis front axle was first introduced on a production car on the Mégane Renaultsport. By allowing the suspension and steering to work totally independently of each other, this mechanism allows Mégane Renaultsport N4 to benefit from handling and grip of the highest quality.
Designed in conjunction with Öhlins, the suspension consists of four spring-shock absorbers using the most recent technologies available. The hydraulic rebound shock absorbers are three-way adjustable (high and low-speed compression, rebound). This allows for a vast range of settings to fit the road profile, level of grip, weather conditions and driving style. The quality of these suspension systems allows drivers to get the most out of the BF Goodrich tyres, mounted on 18-inch rims, and release their full potential on long special stages.
Under the bonnet, the performance of the 2.0-litre 16V turbo engine has been enhanced with an optimised electronic engine control system. Despite regulatory restrictions, the Mégane Renaultsport N4’s engine puts out 261bhp and 470 Nm of torque. It is linked to a five-speed H-pattern gearbox, developed specifically for this purpose.
Echoing the same sculpted design seen on Mégane Renaultsport 250, the rally version emphasises the production model’s naturally sporty looks. The only addition is the roof-mounted air intake incorporated into the external lines of the car to distinguish the competition version from the production model. Benefiting from the assuredly sporty look of Mégane Renaultsport 250, the N4 version also features the front bumper with an integrated F1-style aerodynamic blade. The centrally-positioned exhaust outlet and rear diffuser also emphasize its shared pedigree with the Mégane Renaultsport.
On the strength of its experience in the field, Renault Sport Technologies has sought to design an innovative, reliable and high-performance package that also takes on board the notion of cost control at every stage of development. The intention is to make Mégane Renaultsport N4 accessible to all drivers, and be both easy to handle and economical to run.
Like all of the vehicles in its rally range, Mégane Renaultsport N4 is to be sold by Renault Sport Technologies in the form of a kit comprising all the specific parts. The price of the N4 Kit? A snip at £48,250 (57,500 euros).