Last updated 10:36, May 30 2017
Renault has fired its first shots in a looming hot hatch battle, presenting the new Megane RS to Formula One spectators at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Nico Hulkenberg, star driver for Renault's F1 program, punted a mildly disguised example of the upcoming model around the circuit during a celebration of the brand's grand prix history.
The 2015 Le Mans winner seemed happy with the car, saying he was "hooked first time out by the excellence of its chassis".
"Renault Sport has done a tremendous job on its performance credentials," Hulkenberg said.
"It was a huge pleasure to drive it around the legendary street track at Monaco today."
The French marque has confirmed that the successor to its acclaimed Megane RS 275 will be offered with a turbocharged engine and a choice of manual or dual-clutch automatic transmissions.
That news was welcomed by supporters of the brand who feared the Megane would follow in the footsteps of the smaller Clio RS by becoming an auto-only proposition.
A less welcome development is that the Renault features a five-door body that looks more practical but less stylish than the outgoing Megane coupe.