PACE NOTES

9 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS MONTH

– SN

01 MEGANE EVOLVES

220kW/420Nm! Megane RS Trophy inbound

LOOK OUT, Honda, Renault is coming for you. The standard Megane RS will have just landed in Australia as you read this, but there is already a harder, sharper, faster Trophy version on the horizon. It’s scheduled to arrive locally in the second half of 2019; Renault Australia says it is still too early to comment on pricing, but we’d be surprised if it departed too far from the $50,000 mark.

Under the bonnet is a revised version of Renault’s new 1.8-litre turbo four, shared with the forthcoming Alpine A110 sports car, producing 220kW/400Nm, a 15kW/10Nm lift over the standard Megane RS. Tick the six-speed dualclutch option, though, and you’ll benefit from an extra 20Nm as well as launch control. The added grunt has been liberated by revisions to the turbocharger, which now uses ceramic ball bearings in order to offset the substantial increase in back pressure caused by the fitting of a particulate filter, required to comply with the strict new European emissions regulations.

A new exhaust system also helps and features a mechanical valve for the first time on an RS model, opening or closing depending on the drive mode selected for increased refinement or a louder note. The benchmark 0-100km/h sprint is claimed to take 5.7sec, identical to the Civic Type R, while its claimed topspeed is 260km/h.

Renault Australia’s decision to only offer the Cup chassis option on manual Megane RSs means that if you want the ultimate in handling precision and a self-shifting gearbox, you’ll have to buy a Trophy. Ticking the Cup box firms the dampers by 25 per cent, the springs by 30 per cent and the anti-roll bars by 10 per cent but, crucially, adds a Torsen limited-slip diff.

The Trophy retains the standard car’s trick new all-wheel steering system, which turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts up to 60km/h to increase agility yet in the same direction above that speed to improve stability. In Race mode, the speed threshold increases to 100km/h.

Bi-material front brake rotors are also included, the mix of aluminium and cast iron shedding 1.8kg of unsprung mass per corner. Further weight can be dropped by selecting the optional ‘Fuji’ wheels, which are 2kg lighter per wheel than the standard ‘Jerez’ items, and also come shod with Bridgestone Potenza S007 tyres rather than the standard S001s. The Jerez wheel design is inspired by that on Renault’s R.S.01 concept supercar and named after the circuit at which it made its debut.

Aside from the wheels, the only external difference between the Trophy and the standard RS are the Trophy stripes added to the F1-style front blade. Inside, Alcantara-wrapped Recaro seats are an option while drivers can sit up to 20mm lower than before thanks to modifications of the original seat base.

We’ll have a full test of the Renault Megane RS in a couple of issues’ time, which should provide a very good understanding of how the Trophy will drive and also the areas it will need to improve on. Hot Meganes have been among MOTOR’s favourite hot hatches for most of the past decade, but the new Trophy will have to be spectacular to wrest that title from the Honda Civic Type R, our reigning Performance Car of the Year.

– SN

02 TAYCAN CHARGE

440kW+ Porsche drops details on incoming Tesla hunter

PORSCHE’S INCOMING Taycan will be an all-electric four-door boasting in excess of 440kW and a 0-100km/h time “well under 3.5 seconds”.

The German automaker has outlined the initial specs of its Taycan sports car as it braces for what will be its first all-electric model. Details are few, but Ma information mm from our European s i e 4 0 0 di cs a nd i correspondent, pi ton ca Georg Kacher, who has pe rs driven prov both Mission E and Cross by Turismo Ake prototypes, bono fills in a lot of gaps.

Porsche has confirmed the top-spec Taycan will feature two “permanently excited electric motors”, one on each axle. Porsche’s acronym for the motors is PSM, which may get confusing as that’s currently its acronym for stability control. Nonetheless, the power is sufficient to propel the Taycan to 200km/h in “under 12 seconds”.

It’s here that engineering and marketing clash as according to Kacher’s Porsche sources, the flagship Taycan will be badged Turbo, an unusual name for a car that not only lacks a turbocharger, but any form of combustion engine. Presumably, the move is aimed at easing high-end customers accustomed to purchasing a 911/Cayenne/Panamera Turbo into electric ownership. It will sit above the Carrera and Carrera S.

The entry-level Taycan Carrera is expected to be rear-drive. Two specs of rear-drive PSM will be available – 240kW/320Nm and 320kW/550Nm – while the front wheels are powered by an independent PSM developing 160kW/300Nm, though 440Nm is said to be available in short bursts. Modelspecific outputs have not yet been confirmed, but we’d speculate the base Carrera will use the rear performance motor, the Carrera S the standard rear motor assisted by the front, and the Turbo both motors at outputs potentially as high as 480kW/850Nm.

The 800-volt battery pack delivers a range of around 500km and Porsche claims that 400km of that can be recouped in 15 minutes when connected to an 800V charger. Such chargers are currently few and far between, but as part of a six billion euro investment in electrification between now and 2022, in a rare example of co-operation, Porsche has formed a joint venture, dubbed ‘Ionity’, with rivals BMW, Daimler, Ford and its fellow VAG stablemate Audi to construct 400 fast-charging stations across Europe by 2020.

Speaking of Audi, its electrification strategy is closely aligned with Porsche’s. An all-electric supercar dubbed the PB18 e-tron (teased in the below right image) will be revealed at Laguna Seca on August 23, but our information is that it’s unlikely to make production in the short-term. Instead, Audi will build its own version of the Taycan based on the Porsche underpinnings, dubbed the J1 platform. Due late 2019, Audi’s version should be identical mechanically as the engineering concept has been frozen, however, with Audi-specific styling inside and out.

Porsche is reportedly also responsible for the Volkswagen Group’s SAZ platform, which stands for ‘sports car architecture of the future’. Capable of supporting internal combustion, plug-in hybrid and pure-electric drivetrains, it is expected to underpin the majority of the Volkswagen Group’s next-generation sports cars, including the future Audi TT and Porsche Boxster/Cayman. Its arrival date is still unclear, but isn’t expected before 2025.

– SN/GK

5 SUPER CARS, BATTERIES INCLUDED

2012

Mercedes-AMG SLS Electric Drive

An early foray into all-electric supercars, but less than 100 were sold. Produced 552kW/1000Nm but range was limited to a maximum of 250km.

2016

Nio EP9

As quick as a GT2 RS around the Nurburgring (it’s the EV record holder, albeit using slicks) thanks to 1000kW of electric power. Just 16 to be built.

2017

Vanda Dendrobium

Singaporean supercar lent credence by the involvement of Williams Advanced Engineering. Production not yet confirmed, but it works.

2017

Jaguar E-Type Zero

Arguably more controversial than any supercar is the trend of converting revered classics to electric drive, typified by Jag’s EV E-Type.

2020

Rimac C_Two

The figures (1408kW, 0-100km/h 1.97sec, 0-300km/h 11.8sec) are science fiction, but Rimac has proven the tech and has 150 orders.

03 FITTER, FASTER 2019 GOLF GTI

180kW & LSD IN, MANUAL OUT! Your move, Hyundai i30 N

VOLKSWAGEN’S evergreen hot hatch is evolving like a fine wine. In a move to keep fresher rivals like the Hyundai i30 N and Renault Megane RS on their toes, the MY19 Golf GTI scores a raft of mechanical and safety upgrades.

Now fitted as standard is the powertrain from the limited edition Golf GTI Performance Edition 1 three-door, including a 180kW/370Nm engine tune, sevenspeed DSG, electronically-controlled mechanical LSD and larger brake rotors from the Golf R.

VW has also thrown in the Active Info digital dash, which replaces the standard analogue dials with a 12.3-inch TFT screen with customisable menus and the Driver Assistance Package, including adaptive cruise, blind spot monitoring, dynamic lights, lane assist, park assist and more.

It’s not all good news, however, as VW has discontinued the manual gearbox. DIY-shift lovers will have to act quickly to snap up one of the remaining three-door GTI Original or five-door GTIs still in dealer stock. As such, the GTI entry ticket rises to $45,490, a $1500 increase over the MY18 DSGequipped GTI, a modest hike given the amount of added kit.

In other fast Golf news, VW has announced it’s changed the pricing of the R range from before on-road costs to driveaway. This means a Golf R Grid manual can be had for $48,490 driveway, which amounts to one of the great automotive bargains. A regular R is now $54,490, add $1500 for DSG and $2000 for the wagon. – SN

04 LISTER REVEALS 497KW V8 F-TYPE

Gran Turismo fans may remember the name Lister from the mighty V12 behemoth called the Storm that starred in early iterations of the game. Well, Lister is back and has turned the wick up on Jaguar’s supercharged V8 F-Type. The result is the LFT-666, the name referring to the number of brake horsepower. In Aussie-speak this translates to an incredible 497kW, backed up by 976Nm (you read that right), courtesy of more boost, new intercoolers, exhaust and a remap. Matched to the standard all-wheel drive, 0-97km/h is a claimed 3.2sec, the top speed 335km/h. Massive 21-inch wheels are included and chassis upgrades are available on request. Just 99 will be built, but then it is the price of a Porsche 911 Turbo (and then some). – SN

05 THE ULTIMATE FALCON V8

EX-FPV ENGINEERS reveal Miami’s full factory potential

THE FORD FALCON Miami supercharged 5.0-litre V8 could have had factory safe outputs as high as 483kW and 783Nm, according to the firm that originally developed the engine.

And now that same Aussie outfit, Premcar as it’s called today, will offer to unlock this potential in the form of an OE-quality aftermarket upgrade kit. Premcar, which emerged following a buyout of Prodrive Engineering, says intercooling is key to better control cylinder temperatures. The cheekily named “GT Holy Grail” package also includes a new intake manifold, heat exchanger, coolant pump, all hoses, pipes and fittings and a unique calibration. Parts are being sourced from the original OEM suppliers and the package has undergone the same stringent durability testing as a manufacturer engine.

Outputs lift to about 483kW at 6500rpm and 783Nm from 45005200rpm with a rev limit of 7000rpm. Quality doesn’t come cheap, however – you’ll need around $25K. – SN

06 BUGATTI CHIRON ‘SKY VIEW’, SUNSCREEN NOT INCLUDED

ACCORDING to Bugatti, there are no plans to produce an open-top version of the Chiron hypercar. However, customers that really want to feel the sun on their skin now have the ‘Sky View’ option. Two glass panels, each measuring 65cm long and 44cm wide are installed into the roof of the Chiron, allowing sunlight to stream into the interior and also increase headroom by 2.7cm. The panels are laminated for strength and consist of four layers to decrease wind noise and filter out infrared and ultraviolet radiation. – SN

07 CLK-GTR FOR SALE

IT’S NOT often a mighty Mercedes-Benz CLK AMG GTR comes on the market, because only 25 were built. That rarity has led RM Sotheby’s to put a guide range of AUD$5.73m-$7.07m on the example scheduled to cross the block at its Monterey auction. For your money you’ll score a street-legal GT1 racer powered by a 450kW 6.9-litre V12.

08 WILD V8 CYGNET

HAD ASTON builtthis Cygnet from the start, it might have sold a few more. Then again, installing the Vantage’s 4.7-litre V8 wouldn’t have done much to reduce emissions, defeating the point of the exercise. The 320kW one-off can hit 100km/h in 4.3sec but the wheelbase must make for lively handling. It’s been sold to a fun-loving custome

09 NISSAN GT-ART

NISSAN HAS teamed up with Italdesign to build the ultimate GT-R. Dubbed the GT-R50, no more than 50 examples will be built at an estimated AUD$1.4m each. For the considerable outlay customers receive wildly revised bodywork along with new suspension, upgraded brakes and a 530kW/780Nm 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6.