As we write the Nurburgring lap record for front-wheel-drive cars stands at 7m54.36s. The car responsible is the Renault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy which is now on-sale in Australia.
To put it in perspective, that time is 14-seconds faster than the previous front-wheel-drive record which was held by the Renault Megane R.S. Trophy in 2011. Of course Renault called-in its motorsport engineers from Formula 1 and other categories to hone development of the R.S.275 Trophy’s engine and chassis – having that sort of expertise on-tap is one of the strengths of the French giant.
So for those seeking an ultimate top-shelf high-performance European hatchback for road and track use, don’t just think Germany. And don’t forget rivals for the Megane R.S. 275 Trophy don’t have the F1 connection which Renault boasts.
Renault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy Overview
The limited edition Renault Megane R.S.275 Trophy is based on the new Megane model, comes with a 205kW turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, lots of specialized engineering enhancements for performance, driving dynamics and weight reduction plus the usual top-notch Renault Sport styling and interior upgrades. Renault Australia has specified its Megane R.S. 275 Trophy models to come standard with the $5,000 ‘Nurburgring Accessory Kit’ (light-weight Recaro polycarbonate front seats, light-weight lithium-ion battery, lightweight Brembo brakes, rear strut brace and more) – making the $61,990 ‘Driveaway’ price very enticing indeed.
Based on the Megane ‘Cup’ chassis, the R.S. 275 Trophy (the 275 stands for 275 horsepower in the non-metric world) gains Brembo brakes, a limited-slip differential and Ohlins adjustable dampers. Those steel and aluminium brakes pare a further 3.0kgs.
Renault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy Engine
Renault equips the Megane R.S. 275 Trophy with its turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and that limited-slip differential. Maximum power is 205kW at 5500rpm and peak torque of 360Nm is delivered between 3000rpm and 5000rpm.
This is about 7kW up on the previous Megane 265 and zero to 100km/h is delivered in 6.0 seconds.
Renault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy The Interior
For sporty interior style Renault’s Megane R.S. 275 scores maximum points. We loved the tight Recaro Pole Position polycarbonate seats trimmed in black Alcantara with red stitching (although climbing-in over their raised, hip-hugging side bolsters is an art best-practiced before trying to impress your partner!).
Alcantara is also used for the superb sports steering wheel and the red seatbelts add a further sporty touch. The driving position is spot-on and the alloy pedals – well they’re compulsory in cars like this.
Instrumentation follows the usual Renault Megane layout with three circular gauges in a curved binnacle and to the left is the nicely-trimmed seven-inch touch screen for the Renault R-Link system which includes satellite navigation. The R-Link screen can display lots of technical stuff like temperatures and boost pressure but also steering wheel angle and brake pressure – and the ‘RS Replay’ function which can download data for transferring to your computer.
The rear seats offers sufficient space and is also trimmed with red stitching.
Renault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy Exterior & Styling
Our Renault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy test car came painted in bright yellow with lots of sporty decals advertising its unique appeal. You can order a two-tone colour scheme with a ‘Diamond Black’ roof with ‘Pearl White for everything else.
Aero enhancements include an F1-style front blade while underneath are 19-inch Speedline Turini wheels which looked great.
In fact everywhere you look the Renault Megane R.S 275 Trophy looks the part - even the titanium exhaust system shows its pedigree with a neat Akrapovic badge on the carbon-fibre tip. Fans of European performance cars and motorcycles need no introduction to this famous specialist exhaust manufacturer (FYI the Renault Megane R.S. 275’s titanium exhaust is light weight and specially tuned for a purposeful noise when you nail the throttle).
Renault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy On The Road
The Renault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy rides on a MacPherson strut front/torsion beam rear suspension layout with those motorsport-derived Ohlins dampers. It’s all very high-tech and taut – just as it should be in a car like this.
Put simply the Renault Megane R.S. 275 just devoured our high-speed mountain roads test loop with an astonishing display which brought to mind the AWD $74,900 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG. Rarely have we driven a front-drive car with so much poise and precision.
The turbo 2.0-litre required precise gear shifting to get the most from it. And getting the most from it came with the raucous exhaust note for which we can thank that marvelous Akrapovic system.
Rocketing into corners and heel-toeing the shifts under braking the Renault Megane R.S. 275’s Brembo anchors did a remarkable job and then you simply threw it towards the apex and the tuned Cup chassis responded with immediate response. Mid-turn the turbo 2.0-litre took over with handy torque and you could balance things nicely with your right foot.
Of course at speed through the twisty stuff the Renault Megane R.S. 275 remained firm with hardly any body roll – just remarkable precision in everything you asked of it.
We can’t think of a front-driver which could match the Renault Megane R.S. 275 in those conditions.
Renault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy Issues
Nope, there’s not one aspect of the Renault Megane R.S. 275 which we’d change.
Renault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy Verdict
When it comes to maximizing the ‘fun-factor’, Renault’s Megane R.S. 275 Trophy – like its predecessors the Trophy 8:08 and Red Bull RB7 and RB8 – certainly takes some beating. In fact, at this price there are few challengers to tempt enthusiast drivers.
And the R.S.275 Trophy follows the same formula as those revered previous models – ask the ‘Sport’ division to slam a powerful four-cylinder engine under the bonnet and match it with a top-notch ‘Cup’ chassis and appropriate interior/exterior enhancements. Boom! There’s tremendous enjoyment for road or track right there!
Like its major German rival, the Renault Megane R.S.275 Trophy may be just a bit too edgy for some. But for those who love driving this racy French hatchback is certainly a ‘must-consider’.
We simply reckon it’s a terrific car which again shows how accomplished Renault is these days.
Renault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy The Competition
The Audi S3 Sportback is a Car Showroom Favourite. You get 206kw/380Nm of turbocharged 2.0-litre Audi grunt driving through the wonderful Quattro all-wheel-drive system and the glorious Audi ‘S’ interior and peerless Audi build quality. The Audi S3 Sportback is stickered at $59,900 (both manual and automatic) and is a tad more subtle than the Renault Megane R.S. 275 in its on-road presence.
No doubt about it the Volkswagen Golf R ($51,990 for the manual or $54,490 for the auto) is a pearler. Forget those dinosaurs still lamenting the bygone six-cylinder Golf Rs, the 206kW/380Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder (same as the Audi S3 Sportback), driving through Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system is Volkswagen’s brilliant German technology and quality at its very best. Of course unlike Renault, the Volkswagen brand doesn’t come with an F1 pedigree.