With a hot hatch on your mind and £7000 in your pocket, what are you going to buy? Allow us to suggest a Renault Sport Mégane 250, perhaps the 2010/60-reg example with 67,000 miles that we found.
It has a full service history, every fettle slavishly listed with its corresponding mileage in the private seller’s advertisement. It had its cambelt and water pump changed last November, almost bang on schedule. It’s had five owners, but then, as a motor trader once told us, that’s five honeymoons when the car has been spoiled rotten.
Based on the third-gen Mégane, the all-new RS 250 arrived in the UK in 2010 before going out with a bang in the form of the 275 Trophy R of 2015. These two models alone remind us just what a confusing world planet RS Mégane can be.
To recap, from launch you had the RS Mégane 250 powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine producing 247bhp. It was partnered by a cheaper and more focused Cup version (lower, lighter, stiffer and with a limited-slip differential), although you could have the standard, or Sport version as it was called, with the Cup chassis. Both were exceptionally well made, and today a good used one still feels solid. Accept nothing less.
So that’s the 250, but then, in 2011 up popped the Mégane 265 Trophy with 261bhp. It was based on the 250 Cup but cost £3800 more, a premium in part justified by the fact that only 50 came to the UK. Its party trick was the squeal from its special Bridgestone Potenza tyres as the car launched itself at the horizon. In fact, they were credited with helping the model break the front-drive lap record at the Nürburgring.
The obligatory facelift occurred in 2012, the most obvious feature being the new daytime LED strip lights. Less obvious to bystanders was the fact that the 265 engine in the limited-edition Trophy had elbowed aside the old 250 unit to become the car’s standard powerplant. As before, there were Cup and Sport versions, as well as a combination of both.
An important thing to note, however, is that the car’s default mode remained 247bhp. To unleash the full 261bhp, you press the ESP button. Hold it down longer and the stability aids are turned off. Check it all works on the test drive.