Renault Megane Renaultsport 275 Trophy review
Renault has launched a hardcore 271bhp version of its brilliant Megane Renaultsport hot hatch. We try it in the UK for the first time...
The Megane Renaultsport has always been one of our favourite hot hatches, thanks to its blistering pace and grippy, engaging handling.
So, with even more power, a traction-boosting limited-slip differential and a noisier titanium exhaust, this new Trophy version has the potential to be something very special indeed.
To mark it out from the standard Renaultsport, the Trophy gets unique decals on its rear haunches and on its silver grille ‘blade’. Inside, you’ll also find plenty of cues to remind you what you’re driving, including yet more Trophy badges and a pair of leather and Alcantara Recaro front sports seats.
All this doesn’t come cheap, though, because the Trophy costs £28,930 – £3000 more than the regular Megane Renaultsport. And that’s before you’ve added the extra-sticky Michelin Cup tyres (£1000) and the Ohlins adjustable dampers (£2000) that are on offer for serious track day enthusiasts.
What’s the Renault Megane Renaultsport Trophy like to drive?
One of the Megane’s biggest assets has always been its optional limited-slip differential. It usually costs £1350 (as part of the Cup chassis pack), and helps give the Renault a staggering amount of traction.
So, it’s a good thing the Trophy gets this bit of kit as standard. Accelerate hard out of a bend and instead of the front wheels running wide – as would normally happen in a powerful front-wheel drive car – the Megane sticks relentlessly to your chosen line.
Carrying so much speed through corners would be slightly unnerving if it weren’t for the Trophy’s superb steering. It’s wonderfully accurate, and streams information to your fingertips like few other modern-day hot hatches.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the payoff for such brilliant handling is a pretty firm ride. You feel every little bump and ripple passing beneath the car, which quickly becomes tiring on longer trips, especially with the optional 19-inch alloys that were fitted to our test car. There’s also plenty of road noise at faster speeds, so the Megane is far from an ideal motorway cruiser.
As for that extra 10bhp, well, the truth is you’ll be hard pushed to notice it. Still, the Megane Renaultsport was hardly short of oomph before, with its 2.0-litre turbo engine powering it to 62mph in just 6.0 seconds.
You can now hear the engine that bit better, too, thanks to the new titanium exhaust. It roars even more loudly when you accelerate hard, and spits and pops angrily when you lift off the accelerator pedal.
What’s the Renault Megane Renaultsport Trophy like inside?
Let’s start with the basics. The driving position is spot-on, and those Recaros are just about the best seats we've tried, holding you tightly in place, without being too punishing for your backside on long journeys.
Sadly, the rest of the cabin isn't so praiseworthy. In fact, if it weren’t for the alloy gearknob and Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, you could easily think you were sitting in the 1.6 Expression model. The dashboard is at least soft to the touch, but looks pretty uninspiring.
Visibility isn’t great, either, particularly out the back, where the chunky rear pillars and tiny rear screen would make reversing pure guesswork if it weren’t for the standard rear parking sensors.
The Megane used to have one of the worst stereos fitted to any modern car, but thankfully a face-lift earlier in the year improved things significantly. The Trophy goes one step further, too, because it gets Renault’s R-Link system as standard, with relatively intuitive controls for its 7.0-inch touch-screen display.
The Trophy also gets Renaultsport’s on-board telemetry monitor, which streams live performance data, including acceleration times, lap times and how much g-force you’re generating through corners.
Should I buy one?
In some respects, the Megane still represents the pinnacle of hot hatch greatness. None of its rivals corner with quite the same verve, or reward you so generously and consistently for your efforts.
The ageing Renault is far from perfect, though. Its punishing ride means you’ll need to be very committed to drive one every day, and its interior looks distinctly last decade compared with, say, a Golf GTI’s.
Then there’s the price. Yes, in some ways, the Trophy looks good value compared with the standard Megane Renaultsport, because you get the all-important Cup pack, plus plenty of other extras, for less cash than it would cost to add them all individually.
However, it’s hard to look past the fact that a three-door Golf GTI cost £2600 less to buy and will hold on to its value for longer. It won’t thrill you half as much on a country road, but will be much easier to live with.
The BMW M135i is another seriously tempting alternative. It’s £1915 more expensive, but is just as much fun and, with 316bhp, is in a whole different league for performance.
What Car? says…
Renault Megane Renaultsport 275 Trophy
Engine size 2.0-litre petrol
Price from £28,930
Torque 271lb ft
0-62mph 6.0 seconds
Top speed 158mph
Fuel economy 37.7mpg