Renault Megane RS Trophy-R: The French 911 GT3
And it's also the quickest production FWD car on the 'Ring.
No back seats, carbon-ceramic brakes, a carbon fibre bonnet, optional carbon fibre wheels, an Akrapovic exhaust, a carbon fibre diffuser, Ohlins dampers, and a 130 kg of weight saving over the car it is based on. No, I'm not talking about the new Porsche 911 GT3's spec list. These elements can all be found on a Renault Megane. But not just any Megane.
This is the RS Trophy-R. In other words, la crème de la crème of Meganes. Just like the R26.R and the RS 275 Trophy-R before it, the engineers from Renault Sport developed a true racing car for the road based on their compact family car. Think of it as the princess of hot hatches, and it's French monarchy all over again as Renault has once again taken the crown of the fastest going production FWD on the Nürburgring.
The Renault Megane RS Trophy-R doesn't make too much sense, and maybe that is why it's so special. Take the normal Megane RS for example. It's an excellent sports car that is rather comfortable, fast, practical, economical, and is basically a hot hatch that you can drive everyday. Well, the RS Trophy-R is not as compromising and everything about it has been optimized to make it go faster around a track.
The result is a car that you cannot really drive everyday. The objective was to get light, very light. In fact, the Trophy-R is 130 kg lighter than a standard Megane RS Trophy. Therefore, you can always try to daily drive this compact hatchback, but there are only two seats, the ride is harsh and even the trunk is useless because they removed the carpets. Our car was equipped with the Nürburgring Record Pack, which included basically every single options we stated at the beginning of the article for a total price of £72K. See, I told you it did not make much sense.
For this kind of money you're getting a car that is ready to destroy any other hot hatch on track. The Megane is equipped with a turbocharged 1.8-litre 4 cylinder engine that makes 300 horsepower, which is enough to go from 0-60 mph in only 5.4 seconds, and reach a top speed of 162 mph (262 km/h). Yeah, the stats of the Megane are not that impressive. For instance, the big boys of the category, like the RS3 or A45 AMG, make well over 400 horsepower. However, the Trophy-R is closer to a race car than these cars will ever be. The French hot hatch is nippier, rougher, and more fun to drive. Unlike the "hyper" hatches from the segment, it feels like the Megane goes back to basics. There is no fancy dual-clutch gearbox, and instead you get a good old six-speed manual. It's an analog car that will only make you focus on the driving. Moreover, Renault got rid of the massive infotainment system, only to provide you with the tiny basic screen to save up 250g. It seems like nothing, but it shows the level of commitment to lightness. Honestly, it's refreshing to get in a car that takes a step back in terms of tech and the rest of superfluous options. Once you get in, you are not looking at a giant screen, trying to adapt the settings, figuring out how to set the AC, or pairing your smartphone. No, you just want to drive, and Renault did a great job at taking these distractions away.
The question is, who is the Renault Megane RS Trophy-R for? Obviously, for someone who has deep pockets, but apart from that, it is targeted at people who like to drive. It is a "back-to-basics" hot hatch that is ready for track days, and that will put a smile on its driver every time he/she finds twisty roads. Of course, you can do the same in a Cayman GT4, which is about the same money. But the Megane is more exclusive than the Porsche with only 500 units produced. Perhaps, we can imagine that the French hot hatch will hold its value pretty well, just like the R26.R.
Renault has done it again. The French automaker just knows how to produce some of the coolest and craziest hot hatches around, and the Megane RS Trophy-R is no exception. This track-focused weapon is very expensive, uncompromising, and unique in this segment. For its defense, it's way more than just a jacked up Megane RS. A lot of thought, engineering and racing expertise has been injected into this project. I agree that is complicated to justify such a price tag. However, if you're looking to drive something that feels different from the rest of hot hatches, that is extremely fun, rare, and track-ready, well the Trophy-R might make a little bit of sense to you.
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Renault Megane RS Trophy-R