The new Renault Megane RS made its first public appearance over the weekend at the Formula 1 Monaco GP, driven around the city circuit by Renault F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg. It wasn’t his first time behind the wheel of the upcoming hot hatch.

“I got an opportunity to test the new Megane RS during its development and I was hooked first time out by the excellence of its chassis. Renault Sport has done a tremendous job on its performance credentials. It was a huge pleasure to drive it around the legendary street track at Monaco today!” he said.

“We aim to make new Megane RS the new compact sports car benchmark,” said Renault Sport Cars’ MD Patrice Ratti. The hot hatch, now with five doors instead of three, will have an automatic option (Renault’s EDC dual-clutch transmission) for the first time alongside a six-speed manual.

Renault Sport has confirmed that the production car will be unveiled in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with sales scheduled to begin in Europe in the first quarter of 2018.

This batch of pics from Monaco doesn’t reveal much, but it’s clear that Renault’s rival to the Ford Focus RS and Honda Civic Type R won’t be as wild and lairy in appearance. “Our brand is not about aggressivity. We try to have a powerful product but rather simple with sensual shapes. That’s what we tried to make with the next RS, which is actually harder than going aggressive I think. To find the right balance is harder but I think we have done it,” brand design boss Stéphane Janin told Autocar.

The fourth-gen Megane‘s distinctive C-shaped LED daytime running lights are present, cradling what should be LED headlamps. The LED fog lamps arranged in RS’ chequered flag pattern is a unique touch. We can also see the big wheels and big Brembo brakes, but Renault did not include even one shot of the hot Megane’s rear end. We’ve seen one undisguised image of its backside before, though.

Compared to the existing Megane GT – which is tuned by the French company’s sports division but not a full-fledged RS car – the Megane RS features a large central exhaust outlet with twin pipes inside (the GT has two exhaust outlets, one at each end). The trapezoid hole is housed in a sizeable rear diffuser and a chunkier rear bumper with two vertical vents on the edges. The tailgate spoiler has a central ridge.

There’s also a wider body to match the wider tracks, from the looks of it. We’ve previously seen Renault Sport testing the RS in a GT body, and the mule’s wheels were protruding from the stock body. Of course, there’s also the signature RS “liquid yellow” body paint.

According to reports, the next Megane RS will get four-wheel steering, a 2.0 litre turbo engine with over 300 hp (the previous one topped out at 275 hp and 0-100 km/h in 5.8 seconds) and front-wheel drive. The Civic Type R is the current record holder of the Nurburgring FWD record with a time of 7 minutes 43.80 seconds, and Renault Sport will surely want to top that.