Meet the Megane RS RX, one of Prodrive's most important ever cars
Sit up and take notice. This is Prodrive’s 600bhp Megane World Rallycross car, and you want – nay, need – a go in it.
The Megane RS RX not only has a name that’s hard to say while drunk, but a chassis designed from the ground up to be a lairy, hairy rallycross car. There’s no simple flinging of power and wings at a stock Megane RS and seeing what sticks, but then what else would you expect? Prodrive are the people behind McRae and Burns’ utterly iconic Subaru rally cars…
Prodrive describes it as the first ground-up rallycross car, in fact, and the ethos is no more prevalent than with the engine. Its engineers concluded that a rallycross car is far better with a longitudinal engine layout, like you find in proper sports cars and supercars.
As a relatively mainstream front-driven hot hatch, though, the Megane is a transverse engine. So Prodrive ripped the whole thing out and started again, designing a fully bespoke 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo that’s mounted longitudinally, to aid centre of gravity and other such nerdiness.
“The entire engine and all the components were designed by the company’s engine team and built and dyno tested at its in-house engine facility,” says Prodrive. No mean feat. It’s also required its own gearbox, a five-speed sequential item made by Xtrac.
The newly laid out engine has allowed for the brakes to come inboard, too, allowing a lighter wheel design that reduce unsprung mass at each corner of the Megane to boost its traction. The suspension is double wishbone all-round, with bespoke, four-way adjustable dampers from Ohlins. A Megane RS road car develops an astonishing amount of grip; this has the potential to be almighty.
Being a rallycross car, there’s permanent all-wheel drive and an anti-lag system. Expect a pretty boisterous soundtrack when all 600bhp is on song. All told, Prodrive describes it as one of the most important cars it’s ever built. When its back catalogue includes those Imprezas plus Aston Martin and Ferrari Le Mans cars, it’s a big claim. You really do need a go, eh?
STORY Stephen Dobie