What's the used Renault Megane R.S. hatchback like?
Keen motorists after a fast front-wheel-drive hot hatch have been queuing up at Renault's door for years to buy the Megane RS, a car that’s so rewarding and so thrilling it’s the automotive equivalent of spending a weekend in Paris with Lily James.
This is the third generation RS, the sporty version of the fourth-generation Megane and, despite the emergence of several brilliant rivals in this class in the last few years, including the Honda Civic Type R and the Volkswagen Golf GTi, it’s still a force to be reckoned with. It’s five doors only now, and for this all-new version the engine has dropped in size from 2.0-litre to 1.8, but don’t worry: those rear doors simply make it more practical for those who want to come along for the ride and, thanks to its large turbocharger, this car has more power and torque than the outgoing Megane 275.
You can send that power through a six-speed manual gearbox or, for the first time in a hot Megane, a twin-clutch automatic gearbox. The sophisticated suspension’s been comprehensively tweaked, and there’s the addition of four-wheel steering, which makes the agile Megane change direction like a cornered rat. You can have it in two different states of firmness, too: standard or Cup, the latter also featuring on the 300 Trophy models, where power is up from the regular 276bhp to a mega 296bhp, and this version also features upgraded brakes and larger and lighter wheels.
Standard equipment is pretty generous and includes climate control, LED headlights, rear parking sensors and keyless entry. Alas, you’ll have to track down a car hopefully fitted with the optional Safety Pack Premium to get automatic emergency braking.
On the road, the Megane’s a peach. It’s quick, for one: 0 to 62mph comes up in just 5.7sec in the 300 Trophy, and it’ll run up to 162mph. It sounds great, too, especially in its Sport or Race modes (Natural is the standard setting). On the standard suspension, it's firm but it rides bumps and broken roads well, although some of its rivals are more forgiving. The Cup is even firmer, and can jostle you around even more on give-and-take roads. It is an improvement on the old car, though.
The RS steers faithfully, and the body control’s top-notch. The handling’s brilliant, the grip sensational and the four-wheel steering is a revelation, making the car dart around with an almost unseemly agility. It’s wonderfully stable, and tremendous fun.
Inside there are sports seats, with even more figure-hugging Recaros an option, an adjustable steering wheel and a pretty good driving position. Quality is a little mixed, but there are plenty of sporting touches, and although the infotainment’s not of the most modern or easiest to use it can be bypassed via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto modes.
Space-wise, there’s good room up front, and two will be fine in the back, although the middle passenger won’t want to travel too far. The boot is a good size, too, and well shaped, although there’s a high loading lip to lift things over, and there’s a slight step in the loadbay with the rear seats folded.
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