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Renaul Megane RS 265 Trophy

Renaul Megane RS 265 Trophy

So, we’ve just come in from the fantastic drive in the Clio Gordini RS and what better way to top it off than to take the Megane RS 265 Trophy out. The Megane RS 265 Trophy uses the Megane RS 250 Cup chassis and has a similar setup with a liberated engine giving out a full 360Nm of torque and 195kW of power.

We are about to review a car laced with technology carried over from Formula One technology, a testament of Renaults prowess being the fact that Renault is the only car manufacturer to have four Formula One teams running their engines  this season. This car by the way has done the ring in 8 minutes and 8 seconds. That is a lot faster than a lot of other more powerful production cars.

ACT 1: ENTER THE RENAULT MEGANE RS TROPHY

Externally this car looks much more aggressive than the standard Renault Megane, looking like a big cat sitting on its haunches about to pounce. The visuals are absolutely striking. The first thing you notice is the rear diffuser with the trapezoidal exhaust tip mounted in the middle (think Lamborghini Murcielago Super Veloce only much smaller). I wonder if that is a tip they got from Lotus (Evora) seeing that they do work together in Formula One. However, the exhaust tip is a fake, unlike the Gordini, it’s not connected to the real exhaust. The car also has 19” STEEV black alloy rims with red piping which just makes this car look incredible.

Red front Brembo four pot calliper brakes come as standard and the rear brake callipers are colour coded to match. There is an F1 style front splitter for downforce at the front and behind the front wheel arches there are slits to help with brake cooling but unlike the Gordini they are smaller. There are daylight running lights (LED’s) mounted to the front bumper at the sides of the front splitter.

Moving to the interior it is a quality affair as I’ve come to expect ever since the Gordini. High quality plastics used for the dash and doors, and also a carbon fibre look-like mould on the doors and across the dash. The one prominent item in the RS 265 Trophy is the Renault Sports Monitor. Here it is much bigger than the Gordini and the background light is blue not that orange we are so familiar with in tiny hatch displays (think Fiat 500, Renault Twingo, etc). Apart from the usual data the monitor displays in the Gordini (throttle response, optimal gear change points, power, torque, g-graphs and things) there is an additional line for boost pressure.

You just have to admire the instrument cluster in the RS 265 Trophy. Taking centre stage in the instrument cluster and getting all the attention is the speedometer demarcated to 290kph, to the left the rev meter which redlines at 6100 revs and to the right a tiny display screen which tells you things like fuel consumption, range and other warning messages that the programmers at Renault thought appropriate to fit in.

The gear lever is also fantastic, topped with aluminium with the numbers etched on top and the knob itself adorned with leather with yellow stitching running down the side, but I think someone forgot that the stitching should be red to match the rims and front splitter. There are Recaro bucket seats fitted as standard and tailor made specifically for this car with yellow seat belts (am assuming to match the gear knob). I wish they were red though. The rear seats are made of leather as standard with brilliant stitching as well with three head rests for three people since this is a much wider car than the Gordini. The pedals are drilled aluminium racing pedals with a foot rest as standard.

The engine in this thing is a two litre four cylinder 16 valve delivering a Volkswagen Golf Gti beating 195kW of power@5500 revs and a staggering 360Nm of torque@3000 revs. That is 80Nm more than a standard Volkswagen Golf Gti. This might all be figures and interesting facts but when the rubber meets the road these kind of figures rocket the Megane from zero to 100km/h in 6.0s and defiant standing start time of 25.7s to 1000metres. That is serious performance with the car topping out at 250km/h. I’ve been in the outgoing Ford Focus ST and the Americans cannot beat the Formulae One technology inherent in the RS 265 Trophy. Only the Japanese can (Nissan GTR, absolutely street yet embarrasses everyone else at the ring having destroyed the Porsche 911 turbo in their wake). Driving is more than how many features come in as standard and if you’ve got BLUETOOTH connectivity. It is about enjoying the drive.

ACT 2: THE DRIVE

Yet again enter Merchand Notier Senior Chief Sales Executive at Renault Cape Town. He flips a switch on the right hand of the steering wheel and race mode is engaged. The Renault Sports Monitor ever so faithful displays a warning message about rules of driving and something of the sort. Just a thought, I wonder if the warranty becomes void if you turn off the stability programmes. The Renault Megane RS 265 Trophy comes equipped with a limited slip differentia (no Revo-Knuckle mumbo jumbo from Ford) and all sorts of safety programmes for the faint hearted (ESP+ASR+CSV+ABS) two of which I know the meaning off. The rest I’m assuming means the cars computer will sort out the problem if they need to.

They are things I love about the Megane that just makes it so different from other cars in its segment. There is that brilliant instrument cluster that makes it so different from the Volkswagen Golf’s and Ford Focuses out there. Its a bit like comparing an AMG Mercedes to a Porsche. The Mercedes has an instrument cluster adopted from the standard car but the Porsche’s just looks like it was meant for a race car. That’s the feeling I get from the Megane. It’s something special. A Volkswagen Golf Gti is just a talented golf with bits of performance wedged in here and there.

From the moment Merchand put his foot down the performance was effortlessly discernable from the Gordini. This car just wanted to be driven. Coming out of every stop light you could feel the traction control kicking in at high revs to prevent wheel spin and loss of car control. The grip that this car has is phenomenal. It hugs bends and goes with them the harder one accelerates. The buckets are very supportive and comfortable.

We slow down for a bit and Merchand lowers down the windows for me to hear the growl of the engine. Unfortunately am still in an affair with the Gordini’s sound so I don’t really show as much appreciation as I should.

As we head back to the dealership I test the sound system in the car which I have to admit is brilliant. It comes standard with BLUETOOTH, which is a great bonus because you can hook up your phone to the cars sound system.

The car has got loads of interior space and a really spacious boot. In fact I was able to fit in as big as I am and sort of have a short nap to compensate for all the excitement I had had in one morning.

Now to the price, for all this excitement you have to pay, wait for it, R409900. Of course now you can complain and insist how much better value for money the Volkswagen Golf Gti is but it so isn’t. This is a track ready car for serious drivers. So in my opinion that is a bargain. Plus everything comes as standard. Spec up a German car and one pays quite a bit. But, in all sincerity that pricing is steep for the hot hatch market, this is now the BMW 3 series segment pricewise, and why not? This is a very capable car. However for those who aren’t very happy with this the standard Megane RS comes in at about R359000.

Have a look at the footage below from EVO reviewing the Renault Megane RS 265 Trophy as well as the drag race between the Vauxhall Astra VXR ( Opel Astra OPC) and the Megane RS 265 Trophy.

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