Just as was the case with its predecessor, the third-generation Trophy-R offers no gain in engine power or torque output compared with the regular Trophy model that sits immediately below it in the current hot Mégane hierarchy.

Renault Sport’s 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor (which also appears in the Alpine A110) has been carried over unchanged, and develops the same 296bhp and 295lb ft. The reason for this is simply that the six-speed manual gearbox that marshals this poke to the front wheels, in conjunction with a Torsen limited-slip differential, is already at the limit for how much torque it can handle.

Richard Lane

Road tester
Bigger carbonfibre diffuser generates double the downforce of its counterpart on a Mégane Trophy – not least because it gets a smooth supply of air as a result of underbody panelling

Renault’s dual-clutch automatic can, and does, take more (310lb ft in the standard Trophy), but the Trophy-R is only available with a manual ’box. A stick-shift set-up is lighter, though; and it’s the strict – not to mention extensive – weight-saving focus of this car that is a key aspect of what makes the Trophy-R special. The rear seats have been stripped out (-25.3kg); a lightweight Akrapovic titanium exhaust has been fitted (-7kg); there’s a new carbon-composite bonnet and carbonfibre rear diffuser (-8kg and -2.3kg respectively); thinner rear glass has been installed (-1kg); and there’s now no rear wiper either (-3kg).

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The list goes on, of course, but the most eye-catching change is that Renault Sport has done away with the 4Control four-wheel steering that so polarises opinion on the standard models. This change alone amounts to 32kg being removed, and is a key contributor to Trophy-R’s total weight saving of 130kg over the regular Trophy. Renault claims a minimum unladen kerb weight of 1306kg – although, with a full tank of fuel, our car weighed in at even less: 1280kg.

Dieppe has also gone to work on the chassis and suspension. At a basic level, it’s still a MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear configuration, but adjustable Ohlins ‘Dual-Flow Valve’ dampers have been fitted, as have lightweight springs. The negative camber of the front wheels has been increased by 1.05deg to allow for a greater tyre contact patch under cornering, and the tyres themselves are now Bridgestone Potenza S007s of a special compound as standard.

That new carbonfibre diffuser and a completely panelled underbody help the Trophy-R develop genuine downforce, while larger 355mm brake discs and 42mm Brembo calipers have also been fitted for improved stopping power.

Our Nürburgring Record edition test car takes things further still. A set of 19in carbonfibre rims are included (you still get the regular set of forged 19s as well, to be carried where the back seats used to be) while a set of gold-calipered Brembo carbon-ceramic front brakes are also fitted. These are not only larger of disc diameter (390mm) but contribute to a further weight saving of 1kg per corner.

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