What's it like?
Two laps of a circuit doesn’t usually tell you much but, this is the Nürburgring, so it’s a lot like a 20-minute thrash on a B-road. A smooth, very fast and seriously inclined B-road.
Around it, this car is seriously good. The changes taking the motor to 271bhp are all electronic, and that there’s more torque through more of the rev range means, Renault says, there’s less need to downshift. Not sure I noticed much, but that sounds fair – it’s broad, responsive, and the exhaust makes a belting pop on lift-off too. The pedals make heel-and-toeing a little tricky, so it’s just as well.
The Trophy’s steering and handling are also tremendous. There’s so much road feel you’d swear the steering was hydraulically not electrically assisted, while grip abounds and the Trophy has the kind of adjustability and communicativeness that are Renaultsport trademarks. There are previous Mitsubishi Evolution or Ford Focus RS levels of tenaciousness at work here.
I can’t tell you about outright ride quality and therefore the relative effectiveness of the Ohlins dampers, because I haven’t driven the Trophy on the road, but running over the odd kerb edge it was free from harshness, while body movements are so deftly controlled that you’d swear the car was made for this track. Which, in a way, I suppose, it was.
Should I buy one?
Even though it’s possible the deftness and ability the Trophy shows on the track might not translate to lumpy back roads, my bet is that it will. On this showing, it is the greatest version of today’s greatest hot hatchback.
Renault Mégane RS 275 Trophy
Price £28,930 0-62mph 6.0sec Top speed 158mph Economy 37.7mpg (combined) CO2 174g/km Kerb weight 1379kg Engine 4 cyls, 1998cc, turbo, petrol Installation Front, transverse, FWD Power 271bhp at 5500rpm Torque 266lb ft at 3000-5000rpm Gearbox 6-speed manual