Renault is responsible for some of the hottest hatchbacks. But in 2008, the French automaker decided to move its game forward with Mégane Sport. What they have done is take the already special Megane RS230 F1 Team R26 Limited Edition hot hatch and go through a strict diet to create the absolutely stunning Megane R26.R.
Avid hot hatch fanatics around the world consider the R26.R to be one of the best handling hot hatches of all time, and that tells you everything you need to know about it. R26.R, popularly known as his GT3 of hot hatches, was very focused and hardcore. And here’s how I got that tag:
Ten Lightweight is the middle name for R26.R
Renault has certainly offered enthusiasts the lightest hatchback. But his 271 pounds savings from an already light hatchback is very impressive, and Renault nearly pulled it off with the Mégane R26.R. The R26.R is based on Renault Sport his Megane 230 F1 Team R26, launched to commemorate Renault’s success in the Formula 1 World Championship. Overall, Hot his hatchback weighed him in at 2,716 pounds.
9 R26.R uses plastic instead of glass
Yes you read that right. Renault’s engineers decided to cut weight to the limit with the Mégane R26.R. The rear hatch glass and side windows are not glass, but a plastic-like material commonly known as Perspex. Otherwise, it’s called polycarbonate, a material commonly used in race cars to keep weight down.
8 The R26.R is faster than the Porsche Cayman
When R26.R came out in 2008, it was a revelation. This small FF hatchback outperformed its weight, making it a sports car contender. The Mégane R26.R was faster than the Porsche Cayman at the Nürburgring when it was first launched. This feat is even more impressive considering that the R26.R was a front-wheel drive hatchback with only 230 horsepower.
The R26.R is the perfect track tool when you look at the details that make the R26.R so special. First, there are no rear seats, instead a full roll cage. There are also no fog lights, rear wiper, radio, sound deadening material, or even a passenger airbag. Instead, it has a Sabelt race seat in a carbon fiber shell with a 6-point harness, LSD and carbon fiber hood.
6 R26.R is rarer than a chicken tooth
In some ways, the Mégane R26.R is rarer than the Ferrari F40. Renault Sport only makes 450 of his hatch crackers this hot. Of these, 126 were for France, 230 for the UK and the rest for other markets. Only 159 of his were ultimately sold in the UK, though, thanks to its affordable price and highly unrealistic persona.
Five The R26.R has a jewel of a turbocharged engine
Underneath the carbon fiber hood lurks a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder 16V unit that puts out 230 horsepower and 228 lb-ft of twist. This is the same engine as the Mégane 230 F1 Team R26, unchanged by Renault. Despite being turbocharged, this engine is easy to handle as he delivers 90% of his maximum torque between 2,000 and 6,000 rpm.
Four R26.R’s 0-62kmph acceleration time is 6.0 seconds
The R26.R gained neither power nor torque (like the Porsche 911 GT3), but its lighter hatch allowed it to complete the 0-100 mile sprint in six seconds flat. In addition, the hatchback achieved a top speed of 146mph and from a standing start he covered the 1000m in 25.9 seconds.
3 The Megane R26.R is a legitimate modern classic
Hot hatches are dozens in today’s automotive environment. There are many options available and they are all quick. But rarely do you get a hatchback as focused as the R26.R. It’s based on the “less is more” principle in its approach, and the result is a hardcore two-seater truck-ready hatchback that far exceeds anything in theory.
2 Megane R26.R is one of the fastest FF cars around the Nürburgring
In 2008, the R26.R lapped the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife in 8 minutes 17 seconds and lapped the green hell in the fastest FWD. Aside from all the weight savings, changes like stiffer springs and bushings, Toyo R888 tires and a titanium exhaust system helped this little hatchback achieve this feat. All his R26.Rs from the factory have a Nürburgring time sticker on the rear side window.
1 The Megane R26.R is one of the best handling cars in the world.
The lucky few who have driven the R26.R appreciate its excellent chassis and claim it to be one of the best-handling cars in the world. Chassis No 1 of the Renault UK Press Fleet sold for his £38,750. No wonder the R26.R is known as his GT3 of hot hatches. Ultimate DrivingHe’s an iconic and legendary hot hatch that proves that weight saving is the way to go if you’re after Nirvana.