The latest Renaultsport Megane Trophy has some big boots to fill with previous generations some of the fastest and most involving creations ever to come out of Renault’s performance division.
Over the standard RS the trophy has a wide range of upgrades including the Cup chassis as standard which means the dampers have been stiffened by 25%, the springs by 30%, and the anti-roll bars by 10% alongside a limited-slip differential, bi-material brake discs and red brake calipers. These save 1.8kg at each corner, reducing unsprung mass. A lightweight battery further reduces weight; compared to the standard Megane RS with manual versions of the Trophy being 18kg lighter. These Cup chassis upgrades which are as standard on the Trophy are also available on the normal Megane RS as optional extras. There’s also a new exhaust with valve control for making more or less noise, while a ceramic ball bearing system adopted by the turbocharger improves response. These tweaks come alongside a 20bhp power hike which rises to 296bhp. Alcantara-upholstered Recaro seats, and Bridgestone Potenza 007 tyres are optionally available.
In basic figures these upgrades trim 0.1 seconds off the standard Megane RS’s 0-62mph time and add 4mph to the top speed. Despite this it feels faster than the regular car with the revised exhaust sounding good, with a bit more aggression to its tone and pops when you lift off the throttle. I suspect it’s brilliant if you’re on a track. But on a road, especially the sort of British country road that you want a hot hatch to excel on, there are one or two issues. It’s very stiff, and while the quality of the damping is superb thanks to the hydraulic bump stops when you back off it’s too harsh to be enjoyable.
The engine now fits the car’s quick reactions better than it did before, and for the most part so do the brakes. The headline power gains aren’t important and you don’t really notice the extra thrust. What you do notice is the more immediate response. The motor is more eager and quick to react. It also maintains power all the way through the rev range and even sounds half decent while doing so with the new exhaust, in addition it’s the handling that sets the Megane apart from most other hot hatches. The mixture of that limited-slip differential and a rear-wheel steering system makes it incredibly agile and quick to respond to inputs; the nose is keen to dip into the apex of corners and while there is some torque steer if you stand on the throttle exiting a curve, it’s well contained.
Inside the Renault Megane RS Trophy is quite nice with the leather/alcantara steering wheel but it does seem odd that on this range-topping sports model the Recaro Sports seats are a £1,500 optional extra. The centre console is populated by quite a large touchscreen which supports Carplay and Android Auto, that both work passably well. However, the rest of it is a challenge. The menu system is confusing and even trying to change the driving mode is way more complex than it should be. The driving position is good, and there’s space in the back although the rear compartment is dark and the bench is rather shallow.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
• Styling √
• Handling √
• Performance √
• Ride Comfort X
• Infotainment System X
• Max speed: 162 mph
• 0-62 mph: 5.7 seconds
• Range: 34.5mpg
• Engine layout: 4 Cylinder Turbocharged
• Max. power: 296bhp
• CO2: 183 g/km
• Price: £31,835
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