For The Renaultsport Megane has enough power to blow most rivals into the weeds, and bristles with feel, balance and precision. It's also competitively priced and well specified.
Against For all but the most dedicated of hot hatch fans, the Cup version's ride may prove to be a little too firm. The cabin could be roomier, too.
What Car? says
Just what a good hot hatch should be - reasonably affordable and thoroughly thrilling.
What Car? readers say
Renault Megane Coupe 2.0T Renaultsport 265 3dr full review
With 247bhp on tap from its turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, the Megane Renaultsport has the power to blow most rivals into the weeds. Switch the car into sports mode, and the engine serves up an extra 14bhp with which to inflict maximum humiliation on rivals. In this mode, the car fires from 0-62mph in 6.0sec, and the power delivery is strong throughout the rev range.
Ride & Handling
Even when you're mercilessly flogging the engine away from the mark, there's little protest from the front wheels. Instead, they simply dig in and go. The front-drive chassis also feels effortlessly at ease even when you're tearing its heart out down a favourite twisty road, bristling with feel and balanced precision. This Cup version, with stiffer springs and a limited slip differential, is even more dramatic on the twisty stuff, but the trade-off is a rather bouncy ride over rougher surfaces.
The Megane Renaultsport might look like it belongs on a racetrack, but it's refined enough to make a civilised everyday car. There's some wind- and road noise at speed, but the engine's throaty boom settles into the background on the motorway, and although the abrupt clutch action takes some adjusting to, the gearhshift is short and sweet.
Buying & Owning
The Megane looks like good value compared with most rivals, and you should be able to get a useful discount off the list price. Insurance costs are reasonable for the class, too, and although it won’t be cheap to run, it has better fuel economy and emissions than some competitors. Residual values aren’t bad, either, although they won’t match a VW Golf GTI’s.
Quality & Reliability
The Megane has high-grade materials and a good standard of fit and finish, and that’s enough to give the cabin an impressively classy feel. There are some concerns, though: Renault hasn't exactly covered itself in glory in our reliability and customer satisfaction surveys – it's usually close to the bottom of the rankings.
Safety & Security
Renault is proud of its safety, and the Megane doesn't let the side down; it has a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating. All models come with front, side and curtain airbags as standard, as well as front seat airbags, which are designed to stop you slipping under the seatbelts. This model also has a stability control system with three modes (on, relaxed and off), and like every Megane, it has deadlocks and an alarm to deter thieves.
Behind The Wheel
The standard sports seats have plenty of support to stop you sliding around when cornering, and with a good range of adjustment on the seat and steering wheel, it's easy to get comfortable. The dashboard is mostly clear, but the stereo is way too complicated and fiddly to use. The tiny back window also means that rear visibility is rubbish.
Space & Practicality
The Megane has enough space for tall people up front, but a sloping roofline means things are worse in the back, where six-footers have to slouch. There isn’t a huge amount of rear legroom, either, so if you want some practicality with your performance, you may do better with one of the Megane’s five-door rivals. However, the boot is well-shaped, and it’s a good size.
Both versions of the Renaultsport Megane come well specified. Even the cheaper Cup version comes with sports seats, a leather-bound steering wheel, air-conditioning, cruise control, an MP3-compliant CD player and Bluetooth connectivity. The dearer non-Cup model adds heated leather seats, keyless-go and dual-zone climate control.