All of the motorsport-grade chassis parts and Nürburgring honing in the world comes to little if your first track taste of the Trophy-R comes in streaming rain, as ours did. Despite waiting all day for a dry surface, it wasn’t to materialise – and in the wet, the car’s Cup tyres won’t take full throttle even at middling revs in anything less than third gear.

So dry launch timings will have to wait for another time. Experience suggests that it’ll be at least a full second quicker to 60mph than the wet time we posted. Not quite in sub-5.0sec Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG or BMW M135i league, perhaps, but anything below 5.7sec will make the Trophy-R the fastest front-driver we’ve tested.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Editor-at-large
Our Trophy-R dispatched the standing quarter in 14.9sec at 103.1mph

All we can say for now is that, even in the wet and cold, the Trophy-R is quicker than a Vauxhall Astra VXR in perfect, dry conditions.

Once its tyres find some purchase, the Renault roars and pops its way through its gears with a rapacious appetite – not only because of its extra power but also because it has a shorter final drive than the last Mégane RS we figured (a 250 Cup).

The old-fashioned multi-point fuel injection combines with pleasingly smart, linear turbo response to make for an accelerator that you can modulate precisely when you need to.

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Aside from a sudden lump of torque delivered at 2000rpm – somewhere you just won’t find yourself when you’re stretching this car’s legs – the power curve feels smooth and even. The shift quality of the six-speed manual gearbox is respectable too, although a more substantial feel would suit the car better.

On the road, you wouldn’t criticise the Trophy-R for being noisy or uncivil, although it’s both. Bereft of sound-deadening, the cabin is filled with as much road and tyre noise as it is engine roar at cruising speeds – and, trust us, 74dB is a noisy 70mph cruise.

But it’s all part of the car’s uncompromising, compelling, madcap character, which can’t be escaped or ignored even on the most mundane of motorway commutes.

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