We test the new Renault Megane R.S. Trophy developed by Renault Sport, the company’s motorsport and high-performance road car division.
The Renault Megane R.S. 300 Trophy is the most powerful Renault sport model ever. Reading up on it before taking delivery I knew it offered greater straight line pace and even sharper handling than before, aiming to build on the considerable promise of the standard car, which is fast and agile, so we were eager to get behind the wheel. The R.S. 300 features 4 Control. Exclusive to the segment, the 4CONTROL technology delivers outstanding agility through tight turns and impressive cornering stability at higher speeds. Two different chassis are available, both with a wider track and suspension components unique to the RS: Sport gives exceptional handling, combined with everyday comfort, while Cup is firmer and equipped with a mechanical limited slip differential, with a focus on outstanding responses on the track. On both chassis, hydraulic compression stops ensure unrivalled composure at the extremes of suspension travel.
Externally, the first thing that stands out is that liquid yellow colour and those flared wheel arches. You know you’re not looking at a standard Megane very quickly with unique details everywhere, like the large Trophy graphic on the ‘F1-style blade’ in the front bumper, increased front and rear track with bespoke rear wing plus the new 19-inch Jerez tri-tone alloy wheels and red Brembo brake calipers sitting behind. Inside there’s a pair of high-backed Recaros that sit up to 20mm lower than the standard seats, aluminium pedals, alcantara upholster and, red top-stitching in a carbon grey trim. It all very sporty and racing like and very much necessary as this car really is built for track.
The 1.8-litre four-cylinder gets tweaked electronics, plus a turbocharger that’s fitted with ceramic bearings to cope with workloads. There’s also a freer breathing exhaust with an adaptive valve that gives a sportier sound when opened. Power is up by 20bhp to 296bhp, while torque swells from 390Nm to 400Nm (420Nm on cars fitted with the EDC twin-clutch box).
You can feel the extra performance immediately. Renault claims it’s chipped a tenth of second from the 0-100km time, which now stands at 5.7 seconds, but it’s the greater mid-range acceleration you appreciate the most. There’s virtually no lag and the Megane pulls continuously as it heads towards its top speed of 260km/h. It sounds really good too, especially with the valve in the exhaust open. There’s nice low-rev tones and when lifting the throttle it results in some attention-grabbing pops and bangs coming from the tailpipe. Might not go down well with the neighbours but it can be closed offering maximum comfort and no disruption. The new R.S. Trophy offers two types of transmission: Manual gearbox (400 Nm) and EDC gearbox (420 Nm).
The R.S. Trophy goes through corners at speed with ease, offering precision and agility. It’s incredibly quick and composed; the amazing grip combined with excellent body control from the passive dampers with their clever hydraulic set up. The faster you go the better the car feels. Race mode is arguably the best but there’s also Normal, Sport and Perso, which allows you to mix and match settings as it quickens the 4CONTROL’s responses and sharpens the throttle. The handling is brilliant but it comes with a firm ride so if that doesn’t bother you day to day you will love the R.S. Trophy.
The Megane R.S. Trophy is not designed to take you to the shops and back but to be driven on your favourite back road or mountain pass. It’s designed and engineered to hit the track where the tarmac is smooth with less surface changes and where you can make the most of the power on tap. The Trophy is not about interior quality or even day to day ride comfort, it’s about thoroughbred hot-hatch performance and if this is what we are judging it on then it ticks all the right boxes.
Model Renault Megane R.S. 300 Trophy
Engine Size 1.8-litre four-cylinder, 300 TCe 300 EDC
Transmission Single-speed EDC Dual-Clutch
Acceleration (0-100km/h) 5.7 seconds
Top Speed 260 km/h
CO2 Emissions 190g/km
Road Tax €390 per year
Base Price €49,995
Our Test Model €50,970