Renault has a knack for making great handling hot hatchbacks built for track enthusiasts and drivers looking for a pure driving experience. This particular version is the 275 Trophy edition, as hardcore as the Megane RS range gets bar the Nurburgring lap record holding Trophy-R. We spent a week thrashing the Trophy around the Western Cape and are currently looking for a loan shark willing to lend us some money for a purchase.
What does 275 mean?The Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy is equipped with more power, hence the 275 number, up from 265 in the previous models. The rest of the world works in horsepower but a conversion to kilowatts means it now has 201 kW and 360 Nm on tap. Obviously Renault has seen the likes of Mercedes-AMG and Volkswagen have recently upped the game in the power department and has followed suit. Also the Focus RS and Civic Type-R have both gone north of 200 kW and will be introduced in SA soon.
The Trophy has had to step up its game in the power department, but also attempt to maintain its dominance in the handling department. The competition is heading towards all-wheel drive models more and more, while Renault has kept with front-wheel drive with trick suspension and chassis work to extrapolate the best possible driving experience.
Go faster bitsBesides a bit more power the Megane RS 275 Trophy can be distinguished by its carbon fibre Akrapovic tailpipe, special 19-inch wheels and red Brembo brake callipers. The Megane shape is getting on in years and the next Megane is due for 2016, but this RS Trophy still looks the part. The coupe/hatch sleek look hits just the right buttons when you throw a bodykit and some big wheels at it.
Full powerOne of the best things about the Megane RS range has always been the sound it expels, it’s a mix of induction, turbo hiss and a barking exhaust. The Trophy remains just as exhilarating to listen to the higher up the revs you climb. Accidentally clip the limiter and the exhaust will expel a raucous pop that’ll send anyone with petrol in their veins into raptures.
The Trophy is rapid in a straight line too, claiming six-seconds flat to 100kph and relentlessly pulls through the gears. Touch the RS button down by the driver’s right knee and Sport mode engages. It sharpens up the throttle response and loosens the traction control’s nanny grip. All of a sudden you can get the front wheels spinning and the chassis feels lively and ready to have its neck wrung.
Taming the beastThe Megane RS 275 Trophy is one of the few cars that can hold up to being called a track car. It’s firm, almost unbearably so on a bumpy road, but that’s also what makes it so good. The way the Trophy drives is entirely addictive, it finds your inner delinquent and brings it right to the fore. The steering is sharp, direct and perfectly weighted. At every turn you begin to thrust it into bends harder and faster as the chassis copes with direction changes as well as pure-bred sportscars. Eventually, and by that I mean at absolute maximum attack it will push on at the front. It’s not just about a stiff chassis and grippy tyres, the RS Trophy is engaging to drive, you feel every bit a part of the machine as you whip it through a mountain pass. It provides great feedback through the steering and chassis keeping you focused and enthralled by its capabilities.
For everyday use, it may not be to every driver’s liking. The harsh ride can get tiresome, especially on the daily drive to work in traffic. The clutch is quite heavy as well so in an ideal world this would suit perfectly as a second/weekend car. If you’re hardcore enough or can live with the stiff ride then there is nothing near this price that offers the same level of thrills and possesses proper track talents.
Inside storyThe Megane RS Trophy crams just about everything Renault has available. Live TomTom navigation is the headline act, but all the basic technologies are covered. The most hardcore of all Recaro bucket seats help hold you in place as you play tug-of-war with the G-forces. The interior design could do with a bit of a revamp as it looks quite aged and hopefully with the 2016 model, Renault introduces a bit more colour to the interior trim.
VerdictIf you’re after a hot hatch that’s built for the track and excites all the senses then this is where you should spend your money, no alternatives. If comfort is quite high on your priority list then maybe look somewhere else, Volkswagen’s Golf R is a worthy all-rounder. The Megane Trophy RS is a no compromise lap record setter that will keep you entertained for years on end as one of the most engaging and driver focussed thrill machines on the market. We want it!
Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy Price in South AfricaCurrently the Trophy is priced at R449 900. The price includes a 5-year/150 000km warranty and a 5-year/100 000km service plan.
Team OpinionsIf ever you wanted a road-going race car, look no further. Few cars are extreme as this and as far as thrills go at this price point, nothing can touch the Megane RS 275 Trophy. You'll love the bark of the Akrapovic exhaust and the handling is out of this world. Ultimately it's too much of a handful and this is why the 265 Lux makes more sense as it offers 85% of the same driving experience, without the compromises. - David Taylor
As far as hardcore, engaging hot hatches go, you don't get any better than this Megane RS Trophy. If you intend making use of its capabilities a lot, then it has no equal. If you desire a measure of everyday usability, then perhaps not. -Hannes Oosthuizen
We Like: Performance, handling, fun factor
We don’t Like: Not for everyday use
Also consider: Volkswagen Golf R, Ford Focus ST