In many ways it is the most focussed hot-hatch on sale today

Our Verdict

Renaultsport Megane 265 Trophy

If you can get your hands on one, the Trophy adds even more kudos and reward to the standard 250 Cup

What is it?

The Megane Renaultsport 250 Cup is the latest hot Megane, and this our first chance to try one on UK roads.

At the international launch we drove the more expensive Sport model, but equipped with the optional Cup chassis, here though we are sampling the more basic Cup version, which is £1000 cheaper than the Sport and includes the stiffer chassis, wider tyres and mechanical limited slip differential as standard.

Inside the Cup misses a few pieces of equipment that are standard on the Sport, but still gets air-conditioning, rear parking sensors and a decent stereo.

What’s it like?

Quite different from RenaultSport products that have gone before. More grown-up and less of a hooligan. At first this is more than a little disappointing, because although it’s obvious the Megane RS is not short of ability, you wonder whether it’s going to be entertaining enough. It certainly doesn’t have the immediacy of the Ford Focus RS, the Megane’s engine less punchy from low revs, and the handling less playful.

But with miles and familiarity it’s difficult not to fall for the Megane’s charms. You simply have to get your head around what Renaultsport have tried to achieve with the car, which is to produce a hot-hatch that focuses on control and speed rather than amusement. It will not be for everyone – but for those that get a kick out of driving a car that is accurate and precise the Megane has a lot to offer.

It doesn’t feel like the sort of hot hatch made for traffic light grand-prix, instead more at home being driven neatly and efficiently (and quickly) over a challenging road.

And it won’t matter how bumpy that road is, because although the Cup chassis is firm, firm enough that even small imperfections have the body moving, faced with sharp edges or big bumps the Megane displays surprising suppleness coupled with excellent body control.

For a quick blast on the road the Focus is still probably the better car, but on track the Megane is not only the faster car (despite its power deficit, in a straight line above 60mph there’s not much in it) but also the more entertaining. It produces more grip, feels less nose heavy and will last longer before needing new tyres and brakes.

Should I buy one?

The Megane RS is not perfect: the steering could be better, as could the gearchange, the engine note is too ordinary and for everyday practicality the rear visibility terrible, but it does do a lot right.

In many ways it is the most focussed hot-hatch on sale today, not necessarily the fastest, but in handling terms probably the most competent, and yet it is also surprisingly easy to live with and upmarket. Best of all it comes with one of the cheapest price tags in the sector. So yes you should.

Jamie Corstorphine

Join the debate

Comments
9

18 December 2009

the Cup specification has been continually watered up, but in the wrong way. Cup with air conditioning and parking sensors? Cup should have no carpet, no stereo, no extras etc.

Customers, for all cars, should get more choice, basically if you order a new car it should be optioned from the bare shell onwards.

18 December 2009

I´m sure Renault will launch a more basic car in the future. But who buys a car nowadays without aircon, in modern cars, summertime is hell with those large windscreens.

19 December 2009

[quote VelSatis23]I´m sure Renault will launch a more basic car in the future. But who buys a car nowadays without aircon, in modern cars, summertime is hell with those large windscreens.[/quote]

Its also hell to keep them demisted in winter without AC.

19 December 2009

[quote 230SL]Its also hell to keep them demisted in winter without AC.[/quote]

Not really, the windscreen fan blower with a bit of heat does the job.

19 December 2009

The review reminds me of my old R5 in the way you get to know it [the car]. Something no Ford or VW will ever achieve in their anemic personas. And at a 10k saving before you haggle, sounds a bargain.

19 December 2009

im really taken by this car it looks stunning and a looks a lot better than the focus and golf etc its just a shame it will fall apart

21 December 2009

well i think this just about right, with 250hp, and a fairly attractive body. but could do with loosing some weight. but i think a toyota celica 1.8vvt is a better buy.

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

21 December 2009

rs 250 is great but renault 4 was the bast ever!

21 January 2014

The Megane RS is not perfect: the steering could be better, as could the gearchange
www.obd2works.com

Obd2works.com&nbs

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