From £23,730
Cup modifications are a big improvement for the Megane 225, and it saves you money too.

Say hello to another fast Renault named after a piece of winner's silverware. With such a prolific series of new product launches, you can’t help feeling Renaultsport deserve a trophy of its own for enthusiasm towards the hot hatch.The Mégane Cup is the latest to follow the principle of offering a more focused drive for less cash. In essence, it’s the chassis and brake modifications first seen on the limited edition Trophy model, applied to a regular 225 Megane that’s had a downgrade on the equipment list. Out go the climate control system (push button air con is fitted) and the CD multichanger, along with floor mats and a few other niceties.On go lighter alloy wheels, new springs and dampers, drilled brakes and the much praised tweaks to the steering. Also, ESP is now switchable. The result is a car much improved over its original specification, with far more precision to the driving experience when you up the pace. The steering has lost much of the pendulous nature that afflicts the regular Mégane, and torquesteer is reduced. The firmer ride is noticeable around town but provides much better body control at speed: the Mégane 225 is now a car in which you’ll actively seek out the scenic route home. Nevertheless, should the road be very bumpy there’s still a degree of fight from the car – forcing you to grab it by the scruff of the neck to make it go where you want it to.For all the undeniable worth of the Cup modifications, the Mégane’s flawed power steering system and torsion beam rear suspension are still detectable. Still, with a £1,400 saving over a regular 225 with the handling pack fitted (it’s a £500 option), the Mégane Cup is a great deal all-round.

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