First Look: The Renault Megane Trophy-R

First Look: The Renault Megane Trophy-R

The Renault Megane Trophy-R is a hardcore hatchback from Renault. It's an exciting ride and one that's likely to rev the engine of any performance enthusiasm. The Trophy was already a light and nippy number, but the R takes this to extremes by stripping out pretty much everything non-essential and keeping the focus squarely on speed and performance.

What Does the R Stand For?

The 'R' in Trophy-R stands for 'Radicale', which is the French for 'extreme'. This should give you an idea of what they're going for here. It's the successor in many ways to 2008's Megane R26 R, which was itself an exhilarating and beautiful ride.

The Trophy-R is an incredibly fast car for a front-wheel-drive and is actually faster than the R26 R. A lot of this speed is down to the light body of the car. In fact, the 271bhp 2.0 liter turbo four engine only has to carry 1280kg around the track as a result of being incredibly stripped out with very little in the way of unnecessary weight. In total it's 100kg lighter than the usual Trophy and this makes a heck of a difference.

This weight was saved by removing rear seats, swapping the front chairs for Recaro buckets, removing any sign of air con or stereo and getting rid of the rear windscreen wiper. Transmission is a non-optional six-speed manual, but you wouldn't want it any other way. In other words, this is a car that's entirely dedicated to performance and speed and for its price you'll be hard pushed to find anything that can keep up.

The Renault Megane Trophy-R is only being released in very limited numbers so you might struggle to get your hands on one. That's a shame, because the Trophy-R is one of the very most explosive and focused driving experiences you'll find at any price, nevertheless this affordably (it costs £38,425 in the UK, about $70,000).

Performance

While the price is good, you might still be wondering what you're actually paying for when you only get 1280kg worth of car, sans anything resembling comfort or features… The answer of course is performance and this is where all the investment has gone on Renault's part. It boasts a 158mph top speed and 0-100kmh takes 5.8 seconds.

Some of the money goes into the suspension. The Trophy-R uses Ohlins adjustable dampeners as standard which were optional on the 275 Trophy. While these aren't supper comfy – you'll still feel every pothole – the Megane comes into its own once you reach higher speeds. It's always firm, but this is perfect for communicating the texture of the road. That's necessary when you're moving at such speeds. If you love getting feedback from your cars and feeling every sensation in the road while travelling at impressive speeds, then you're going to love the experience of the Megane Trophy-R.

Not For Everyone

Of course, while being an incredible performer the Trophy R is not for everyone. Which is just as well seeing as there aren't nearly enough to go around…

This car takes commitment and is simply not suited to driving long distance unless you're somewhat masochistic. It's a noisy car to drive, it's bumpy as mentioned and there's no air conditioning or anything else. In other words, this is not the family car that your significant other is going to be happy you spent money on.

But obviously that's not what this car is about. This is about having a fun experience on the road and enjoying a little speed on a lazy afternoon. If that's what you're looking for and you're hardcore enough, then you might be interested in getting one of these unadulterated beasts.

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