If performance hatchbacks are your cup of tea, then the Renault Megane RS 265 LUX deserves a taste. Renault introduced this new model to the South African market earlier in the year which was followed up with the track-biased Megane RS 275 Trophy version a few months later. Although both are similar in many ways, this RS 265 LUX derivative is more geared to the everyday motorist looking for excellent performance in a sporty package. We spent some time with the LUX to get a sense of its capabilities on the road..Striking Looks
You can’t deny that the Renault Megane RS 265 LUX is a good looking car, it just is. Sitting low and wide on the road and riding on 18-inch anthracite grey RS alloy wheels, this 3-door LUX coupe has performance written all over it. This message is driven home with RS badging below the large Renault logo on the nose as well as a F1-style blade insert with integrated LED daytime running lights.
The rear-end is what most motorists will see and here you will find a large centre-mounted exhaust integrated into the diffuser. This particular test unit wears a rather bold yellow metallic paint called ‘Sirius Yellow’, which can be had as an option for a price of R20 000.
Sporty InteriorThe sportiness doesn’t end there. Open the door and RS door sills and aluminium sports pedals welcome you in. The leather sports seats are comfortable with excellent bolstering and they are electrically adjustable with a heating function too. The dashboard is finished in gloss black carbon-look moulding and both the gear knob and multifunction steering wheel are wrapped in leather with the steering wheel being adjustable for rake and reach. The racy feel is further enhanced with the RS instrument dials tilted upwards.
Infotainment is provided by a dash-mounted touchscreen that’s Bluetooth capable and comes loaded with TomTom Live navigation which also alerts you when you are exceeding the speed limit. The Megane RS 265 LUX is fitted with Park Distance Control as standard, but this test unit came fitted with the optional rear camera park assist costing R5 000. Other standard features include tyre pressure monitoring system, climate control, cruise control with speed limiter, USB/Aux inputs, Keyless start and electric windows and side mirrors.
It must be said however that the LUX isn’t the most practical car around. Getting into the rear seats can be a bit of a mission and rear headroom is tight, but thankfully rear knee and legroom is sufficient. In terms of space, you looking at a reasonable sized boot offering 344-litres of space. The rear seats do fold down increasing loading space to 1 024-litres. There are also ISOFIX child seat mounts fitted if you plan on giving your little ones a bit of a joy ride.
Performance DeLUXeThe real action happens under the bonnet. With its 2.0-litre turbo engine, the Megane RS 265 LUX is tuned to deliver 195kW and 360Nm of torque through the front wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission.
When driven gently, the 265 LUX goes about its business quietly and respectfully, but put your foot down and things quickly kick up a notch. The throttle is responsive and acceleration is quick and thrilling. Renault claims 6 seconds in the 0-100kph sprint and it certainly feels that fast. Gear shifting is smooth and in-gear acceleration is excellent. As a result, overtaking manoeuvres are executed with blissful ease. It’s always nice to know that there’s power on tap when it’s needed, no questions asked.
The ride is on the firm side, but not uncomfortably firm. The LUX does a decent job of providing a smooth ride and it deals with imperfections reasonably well. The steering is nicely weighted and precise, giving the driver confidence to enjoy the performance. The LUX handles superbly, hugging the tar both in a straight line and in the bends.
If you wish to perk up the performance even further, simply push the RS button and the fun factor increases even more. With RS mode engaged, throttle response is enhanced and the LUX turns into bullet that’s sure to turn heads as the exhaust crackles and pops behind you. Renault claims the LUX will consume 8.2L/100km, but we found it rather difficult to achieve below 10L/100km. We blame the fun driving experience...
In terms of safety features, the LUX is well equipped and comes fitted with ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Traction Control and Anti-Slip Regulation/Stability Control. A total of eight airbags are also fitted as standard.
Renault Megane RS 265 LUX Price in South AfricaThe Megane RS 265 LUX is priced from R389 900. There are a number of optional extras you can throw into the mix and these include a fixed glass roof (R8 000), rear camera park assist (R5 000), metallic paint (R2 500) and Sirius Yellow metallic paint for R20 000.
The price includes a 5-year/150 000km mechanical warranty plan, a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty and 5-year/90 000km service plan with service intervals set at 10 000km.
VerdictThe Renault Megane RS 265 LUX is a striking package that offers excellent performance. With a solid dose of power and torque and a decent amount of specification, the LUX is difficult to ignore at this price point. Although it’s not the most practical hot hatch on the market, the LUX makes up for its inadequacies by keeping its driver engaged and smiling on every journey. If you’re not a Renault fan, then you may want to consider rivals such as the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI, or the Scirocco if you are looking for a three-door coupe, but be mindful that you will be forking out more cash here.
We like: Performance, excellent handling, stylish looks, value for money, generous specification
Don’t like: Rear space
Also Consider: Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST, Volkswagen Scirocco
The Renault Megane RS 265 offers a wonderful balance between day-to-day comfort and outright driving thrills. While it's not as track-focused as its more powerful Trophy brother, I feel that the acceleration and driving experience is not too different. I would love to be able to fit the loud Akrapovic exhaust as an option. I'd have this over the mainstream Golf GTI and the not-as-exciting Ford Focus ST. -David Taylor
The Megane Lux softens up what is essentially a track car and makes it a bit more usable as an every day hot hatch. Creature comforts are regarded as a necessity in here rather than a weight disadvantage like they are in the Trophy. -Ashley Oldfield