Renault is considering developing a high-performance Renaultsport version of its Kadjar crossover, Auto Express can reveal.
Vincent Geslin, Kadjar project manager for Europe, said: “[The Renaultsport Kadjar] is something we are looking into for the future as it would really help grow our brand - not only in Europe but particularly in China.”
The french firm has so far struggled to exploit the growing Chinese market. It has sold just 34,000 cars there while rival Peugeot has shifted 734,000 units. Renault has found it difficult to break through in Asia as its brand of economy hatchbacks don’t really appeal to status conscious Chinese buyers. The new Kadjar, with its stylish SUV looks, will help this - but Geslin told us a halo Renaultsport model would really give the brand a presence in China, where high-performance SUVs are massively popular.
Details of the Renaultsport model are still undecided, but it would most likely be powered by a version of the 1.6-litre turbo petrol which is expected to be added to the Kadjar range later this year. In the Juke Nismo this unit produces 215bhp but would most likely be tuned for even more power in the hot Qashqi and Kadjar.
As well as a high performance engine, a Kadjar RS would also feature a range of chassis upgrades. Renaultsport is excellent at producing fine handling cars and should be able to work its magic on the Kadjar with stiffer suspension, bigger brakes and maybe even the addition of a limited-slip differential.
It could even use its PerfoHub front suspension geometry, like that used on the Megane 275, to help counteract torque steer. It may even be possible to use the all-wheel-drive system used in the Kadjar 1.6-litre DCi - after all, the Chinese market would most likely expect a hot SUV to offer 4x4 grip.
There would of course be the usual range of Renaultsport styling upgrades, too. When fitted with an aggressive bodykit the already stylish Kadjar would certainly get the attention the French brand needs if it's to stand out in the increasingly crowded Chinese market.
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