What is it?
Put simply, it’s a Renaultsport 250 Cup given an extra 15bhp and 15lb ft of torque. Doesn’t sound like much but for those who like their hot hatches the Trophy is a welcome step up the power rankings for the Megane RS – a car that has already established itself as having one of the finest front-wheel drive chassis out there. Which is a good thing because no changes have been made to that chassis; even Renault think it’s good enough as is.
Only 500 examples of the Trophy will be made and only 50 of those will come to the UK, so exclusivity – and the appropriate styling tweaks and decals – is likely to be as big a reason as the power hike to pay the extra £3800 that Renault is asking for the Trophy over the standard Megane 250 Cup.
What’s it like?
Unsurprisingly the differences in feel between the Trophy and the standard car are fairly subtle, but the extra power has given the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot a more lairy power delivery. It’s not as much of an attack on the senses as the Ford Focus RS on full bore, but as a whole the Trophy feels like it’s making a more vigorous attempt to maul the tarmac than the standard car; An impression that’s emphasised by the pleasingly gravelly intake noise and new easy-squeal Bridgestone Potenza RE05A tyres (which are available as an off-the-shelf tyre, too).
It’s those tyres that might actually be one of the more substantial improvements over the standard car. Renault broke the front-wheel drive lap record of the Nurburgring with the new Trophy, and the driver attributed as much of the 9seconds it shaved off the previous record (set by a Megane R26R) to the tyres as to the power hike. But truthfully it would require a lot of track use for the benefits to become evident, and having had experience of the various tyres available on the standard car we certainly wouldn’t consider any of them limiting in the performance or grip on offer.
What is crucial is that the purity of the Megane Cup’s handling hasn’t been corrupted by the extra power. Torque steer remains noticeable but well-contained, understeer is still a rare and mostly last-chance occurrence, and generally the Megane RS has retained its joyous ability to be both utterly thrilling and also very forgiving on the limit. That the Trophy upgrades have made only subtle changes will, to many, be a very good thing indeed even if there will be those who remain disappointed that something wearing the Trophy name isn’t more significantly breathed-on.
Should I buy one?
If you can get your hands on one, then yes, because there’s no doubt that it is a truly exceptional hot hatch. It’s got all the depth of usability and reward that has made the standard car the benchmark but with a little bit more power, added kudos and a healthy standard kit list - including Recaro seats, metallic paint and unique 19-inch alloys that go a long way to accounting for the premium that the £27,820 Megane Trophy commands.
Still, if you can’t get hold of one of a Trophy, don’t fear – the standard car is just as bountiful anywhere outside the ‘Ring, and it’ll save you a few quid, too.