The Renault Mégane RS 275 Trophy-R is a car of giant-killing purpose and genuine excitement.

It’s a tribute to the skill of Renaultsport’s engineers that it can turn an £18k family hatchback into something with the grip, body control, stopping power and thrills comparable to those of a Lotus Exige S or Porsche 911 GT3 RS circuit special.

If you prefer your front axles powered and your track cars usable, this is the only choice

The Trophy-R may not be in the same league as those big hitters on outright speed, but the fact that it’s endowed with more poise, more control, sharper responses and a stronger hold on dry asphalt than it needs somehow makes it more appealing.

The perfect hot hatchback should be more usable, habitable and affordable than this, which is why the Trophy-R doesn’t get the final half star. But the market is doing all right for practical,well mannered, well priced options.

What it didn’t have was a truly unhinged, razor-edged, track-ready entrant focused enough to make a Mini GP feel like a 1.0-litre Mayfair. Until now.