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2012 Renault Megane Renaultsport review

  • 2012 Renault Megane Renaultsport 265 driven
  • More power; priced from 24,825
  • On sale now
Words BySteve Huntingford

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The Renault Megane Renaultsport has been our favourite hot hatch for the past three years and is now faster than ever.

The new Renault Megane Renaultsport 265 has an extra 14bhp and 15lb ft of torque compared with the outgoing Renaultsport 250 model, as well as some cosmetic upgrades to bring it into line with the rest of the 2012 Renault Megane range.

As before, theres a more focused Cup model, which now costs 24,825, and a slightly softer and better equipped 265, which is now 26,025. These are price rises of 680 and 880 respectively.

New options for the 2012 Megane Renaultsport include red stripes for the front blades, side sills and rear diffuser (350), and a pack that brings a lane-departure-warning system and auto-dipping headlights (300).

Whats the 2012 Megane Renaultsport like to drive?
In standard mode, the car produces the same 247bhp as its predecessor. However, a button on the dashboard turns up the turbocharger boost to give the full 261bhp.

If were honest, youll barely notice the increased performance; the Megane Renaultsport feels incredibly fast and flexible in both settings.

Instead, its the fact that the exhaust note gets much louder and fruitier when you put the car in its sportiest setting thatll have you reaching for the button.

We tried the Cup model, and it's an absolute hoot, because it stays flat in corners and combines awesome grip with sharp and informative steering.

A limited-slip differential means you can make the most of all the power and, while the ride is firm, its not overly so.

Whats the 2012 Megane Renaultsport like inside?
Much as it was, aside from a new stereo thats slightly but only slightly less fiddly than the one it replaces.

The cabin is built from classy materials, while metal pedals, a leather-trimmed sports steering wheel and flashes of yellow inject some sportiness.

Theres plenty of space up front, too, but tall rear-seat passengers will wish they had more head- and legroom.

Its just as well rear parking sensors come as standard, though, because thick rear pillars mean over-the-shoulder visibility is poor.

Should I buy one?
Definitely. The Megane Renaultsport was already the best hot hatch on sale, and this update has done nothing to change that. Its rapid, agile, immensely grippy and, most importantly of all, huge fun.

Rivals:
Seat Leon Cupra R
Volkswagen Golf GTI

What Car? says

Steve Huntingford