Renault must have a fair idea what Francis Ford Coppola felt like when making The Godfather Part II. Or the pressure Radiohead were under while writing the follow-up to OK Computer.
Yep, in the world of hot hatchbacks, the predecessor to this Renault Megane RS was undoubtedly one of the greatest ever. So, Renault’s job of designing and building its successor must have been daunting in the extreme.
But here it is: the new Mégane RS – a car with not only big boots to fill, but also a host of extremely talented rivals vying for its blood. The Honda Civic Type R, our 2018 Hot Hatch of the Year, is at the front of that queue, but the Mégane RS also needs to face off the Ford Focus RS, Hyundai i30N and Volkswagen Golf R.
To help it do just that Renault has used everything in its arsenal, including four-wheel steering to improve agility and the sort of suspension you’d usually expect on a rally car to help the Mégane RS deal with our battered country roads. Under the bonnet lives a 1.8-litre turbocharged engine that’s shared with the Alpine A110, except here it produces 276bhp in the regular Megane RS or a meatier 296bhp in the Trophy 300.
Prefer your hot hatches fast and fun yet still easy to live with? The regular Mégane RS is aimed squarely at you. But if you think a great hot hatch should be about maximum thrills whatever the consequences, the stiffer, more focused Cup chassis is definitely an option box you should tick. At the top of the tree is the Trophy 300, a version that gets the Cup chassis as standard, more power, larger brakes, slightly less weight and larger 19in wheels.
In this review, we’ll tell you about both versions, how they compare with their rivals and what you should consider before buying. Read on for all you need to know. And if your interest is piqued, head over to our New Car Buying pages to see how much we could save you.