What's the used Renault Megane R.S. hatchback like?
The idea of turning a fairly humble hatchback into a fire-breathing performance car of pseudo-racing intent is not a new one, but few have started off with a base as attractive as the Renault Megane.
The first version to receive the tarting-up treatment was actually the second-generation car, a model famous, like some of the Kardashians, for its large derriere. This car is the third generation car, launched in 2010 and available as a handsome five-door hatch or an even prettier three-door coupe-cum-hatch, upon which the RS (for “Renault Sport”) version is based.
In 2012 it was time for a facelift, and the RS got a more rounded, svelte look and new daytime LED strip lights too. From this point on all engine options were upped to the 265 version. However, in 2014, that power was increased yet again, and the 265 became the 275, the better to see off the Leon Cupras and Golf GTIs and Civic Type Rs in what had become a mighty power race among the hot hatches. With 271bhp now available, and the Cup chassis as a standard fit, it looked utterly convincing, although those who weren’t completely convinced could opt for a limited-edition 275 Trophy R version that was even lighter still and had a bespoke suspension with much use of racing componentry tweaked even further.
On the road, there was no doubting the prowess of any of these cars. Even the original 250 version is a hoot to drive, with a 0 to 62mph time of a mere 6.1 seconds. Power is best accessed by revving the engine to within an inch of its life, as the turbo unit can be peaky and is not for the faint-footed. Do it though and you’ll be rewarded with speed and aural pleasure, for this is a hugely pleasing and enjoyable car that will also reward a keen driver and put a huge smile on their face even on minor roads and at much lower speeds. Grip is plentiful, and the steering is meaty but well-weighted enough to not only show its sporting intent but also offer reasonable communication. It only feels its age in not being as quick to answer the helm as younger and more modern hot hatches are, but the handling is generally as good as you could want, as it’s both rapid and enlightening. The ride is firm, and on some of the sportier versions almost uncomfortably so, but as the flipside of such thrilling driving responses it seems a small price to pay.