The Megane RS has long been one of the more extreme hot hatchbacks. Visit the engineering departments of Ford and VW and when they talk about the Focus ST or Golf GTI, you’re aware they’re talking about a direct competitor. A daily driver. The Megane occupies a more focused niche; if you were to design a car that sat somewhere between Focus ST and the RS, the Megane is it.
At least, that’s what it has been so far. But? But Renault isn’t unhappy with the performance it has been getting from its dual-clutch gearbox in the latest, in some ways disappointing, Renault Sport Clio. It’s also very pleased with the response that rear-steer gives the latest lukewarm Megane, so that system’s inclusion is almost a given.
Neither of things is bad in itself, but what it does risk is diluting the purity of the current Renault Megane 275, which steers astonishingly well and consistently, has the pleasure of three pedals, and when it does tuck its nose into a corner and get the rear involved in the cornering process – which it does liberally if you trail-brake or lift mid-corner – it does those things predictably and liberally. The reason the latest Clio disappoints is because it sometimes feels aloof and artificial. I love the fact that the current Megane resists being an everyday, easy to live with hot hatch; and just hope the next one stays on message.