I want a 718... but can't give up my 250 Cup
You know that dream car you'd love to own. But you have a fantastic car already?
I've owned a grand total of 3 cars in my life. A 1.2 16v Clio was my first car. It was my ticket to freedom.
It was a mess. Of course it was; it was a standard 17 year old's car. Black wheels. Lowered. Bright red seats. That had a rip in them because I bought them secondhand from flea-bay. I even had an OMP steering wheel I bought from a fellow club member for 50 quid!
Unsurprisingly, a heavy-footed 17 year old + 1.2L pokey engine = BOOM. After about 2 years-ish of owning the car, it exploded. I needed a second car.
I told myself I'd buy something other than a Renault, explore the vast tapestry of cars. Fast forward 1 month and a 45 minute drive to Essex, and I was the proud owner of a "LOUD" Clio Sport 182.
Suddenly I'd jumped from 1.2L to 2.0. The car was a black gold, full fat cup tin-can go-kart nut job. I loved EVERY second of driving it. My wife (at the time, girlfriend) didn't. The car had one bolt holding the CAT and exhaust together. The dephaser pulley hadn't been changed since it was fitted in the factory. The leather/Alcantara seats had a massive rip, like the bright red ones of my previous Clio. The steering wheel looked like melted cheese. The oil was like treacle and the spark plugs where all odd, which was a skill.
After 6 YEARS of owning the car, its piston finally ate itself, and I was left with a tough choice. Repair the car I was in love with, or look at something else. My wife made it for me and told me to buy something else.
I was feeling a bit "grown up". I again told myself I would buy anything other than a Renault. I looked at BMWs, Porches, even a Golf. One long drive up to Cambridge in my wife's Kia Picanto, and I bought a Renault Megane 250 Cup.
It was beautiful, in Mercury Silver. It had Recaro seats... with no rips! It was full Cup pack and just felt absolutely incredible to drive. I've driven a number of cars in my life but the Megane was beyond them; I've never felt something so responsive and enjoyable to just throw around. So responsive deep in the corners and the traction control actually worked when you cocked it up a bit, unlike the 182 - where it was more a lazy teenager that sort of wakes up just in time to save you from ploughing sideways into a curb, in the damp.
This was great. I then had an opportunity to test drive a 718 Cayman. Now my Megane always makes me feel like a little boy - throwing it around tracks is so much fun, you sort of forget that this is 9,000 quid 55k mile hatchback with a sensible boot big enough to fit an average sized human.
The Cayman is on a different level. It has this refinement and savagery that I absolutely love, solid yet with the crazy/go-kart feel that I get from the Renault. It feels so enjoyable to drive, I never felt like I lacked control despite the salesman next to me hanging to the handle for dear life till the blood drained out of his hands. I only got to drive for a bit but I desperately wanted more. I had to walk away though. I've since been asking if I can drive my dad's 3.4 Boxster. I get a resounding NO every time.
You might be asking at this point... why not just buy a 718 then? This is the problem: I can't part with my 250 Cup. It's fantastic to drive and while the price isn't a factor in buying the 718, I can't help but be drawn back to contentment with my 250.
It makes no sense - the Porsche is on a different level, but that Renault has stolen my heart. Every time I get in, put my harnesses on, and give it a good blow round some country lanes, I forget I'm driving a Renault. I fear the Porsche would always feel like a Porsche - I'd never be able to escape that fact and be constantly concerned if someone is doing something to my precious car. I mean I'm already concerned about that, and I only have a Renault.
Don't worry, in 4 year's time when I either blow this one up or sell it... I'll probably just buy another Renault.
- If you read this, thank you. I'm a big petrolhead and I love cars ever since I was a child, I've been trying this writing thing out for a while on various different platforms and really enjoy it. Cars are my passion and I love that I'm able to talk about them on here.