Renault’s hot hatch legacy, especially where special-edition cars are concerned, is probably unparalleled. Among a bevy of household names are the Clio Williams, the Clio V6, the Clio Trophy, the Mégane 230 R26 and, of course, the R26.R.
The last of these, launched in 2008, is clearly the direct antecedent of the Trophy-R and came in much the same stripped-out, limited-run format. Of the 450 made, just over half were destined for the UK.
The quick Mégane is, by now, consequently a familiar machine. Like the 265 and the 275 Trophy, the R gets the same 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, in the same 271bhp guise, as the 275 Trophy.
The extra power over the standard car is delivered by a revised ECU remap and is again tagged to the car’s Sport and Race modes. It also shares the Trophy’s upgraded Akrapovic titanium exhaust system and the Cup chassis pack, which adds stiffer springs, a larger-diameter anti-roll bar, a lower ride height and – most important – a GKN mechanical limited-slip differential.
The pack normally adds dampers, too, but for the R, these are swapped out for a set of adjustable Öhlins which feature hydraulic compression stops that Renault has dubbed Progressive Damping System. It’s all very well paying the premium for a car with mechanically adjustable dampers, but getting the best from them can be a fiddly and time-consuming process.