Renault Sport and hot hatchbacks are more or less interchangeable terms at this point, so there was little surprise when the French marque squinted in contempt as Honda’s formidable FK8 Civic Type R stole its crown as the fastest production front-drive car to lap the Nurburgring.
At that stage, even the standard version of the what we now know as the Megane RS 280 was only just being revealed. The foreshocks of all out hot hatch warfare could clearly be felt, and today’s reveal that the Trophy-R has once again claimed that title under the Renault banner closes that circle.
The new range-topping high performance French five-door is essentially a lightened and overall more track-prepared version of the comparatively comfortable Megane RS 280, using an uprated version of the 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine from the RS Trophy (sans R), producing 224kW and 420Nm, paired to a body that is up to 130kg lighter.
Additionally, the Trophy-R also features additional aerodynamic components and specially calibrated suspension to make it more adept to track carving, no doubt with help from partners such as Brembo, Ohlins, Akrapovic, and Bridgestone.
Consequently, during its fastest run in the hands of Laurent Hurgon, the car was able to post a record breaking time of 7 minutes 40.1 seconds, approximately 3.7 seconds quicker than the previous holder, the aforementioned Honda.
Seen here in its familiar red on white colour scheme, the Trophy-R does look significantly more purposeful - even menacing - than the hot hatch it’s based on. However, though the order books are set to open before long, Renault Sport is only planning to produce a few hundred examples, with first deliveries slated to begin before the end of 2019.