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Contrary to earlier reports, rumours are that the next-generation Renault Megane RS will be pairing its new turbocharged engine to a front-wheel-drive layout, as opposed to all-wheel-drive as predicted earlier. It will, however, apparently use the 4Control four-wheel steering system, though this will likely be introduced on an upcoming performance model as an optional extra.

The manual transmission is said to make a return in the next-generation Megane RS, too, following earlier feedback from Clio RS customers who were apparently put off by the latest one due to its lack of a manual gearbox. In the fourth-generation Megane RS, both manual and dual-clutch automatic options will be offered.

A rev-matching feature, similar to that employed on the Nissan 370Z’s manual transmission, is likely to be present on the upcoming manual Megane RS, helping the driver blip the throttle for perfect downshifts when decelerating.

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It’s reported that Renaultsport engineers have found the manual to be quicker to 100 km/h compared to a launch control-equipped dual-clutch version. This said to be due to the manual’s significant weight savings over the dual-clutch automatic. Having said that, the dual-clutch transmission is said to have the advantage when it comes to setting a fast lap time.

Weight is a significant factor in the decision, as the Megane it is based upon is significantly larger than before, and the upcoming Megane RS will be available as a five-door only, unlike the three-door bodystyle of the previous Megane RS. The 4Control all-wheel steer system is said to add an extra 40 kg, but the engineers decided that the additional weight is offset by the handling benefits offered by the system.

Renaultsport won’t be aiming for outright power, but it plans to focus on “actual performance,” especially in the area of power-to-weight ratios and torque delivery. Power will be from an all-new 2.0 litre, turbocharged engine, which will supersede the outgoing F4R turbocharged unit. Word is that it will offer around 300 hp in standard form.

The fourth-generation Renault Megane RS is expected to make its debut at next year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, with the aim of announcing a new front-wheel-drive production car lap record at the Nurgburgring Nordschleife, currently held by the 310 PS Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S.

GALLERY: Next-gen Renault Megane RS spied