The Renault Megane RS Trophy-R is what happens when the masters of feisty front-wheel-drive rockets at Renaultsport are given free reign to cherry-pick the finest ingredients to come up with possibly the ultimate hot hatch. At the very least, the fastest FWD car around the Nurburgring, with a lap time of 7mins 40.1secs.
The Trophy-R is no more powerful than the Megane RS300, the 1.8 4cyl turbo engine producing the same 300hp. But a crash diet has dropped the weight by a whopping 130kg. Much of the bodywork is glassfibre and carbonfibre. The wheels are lighter – even more so with the optional carbon rims. The Akrapovic exhaust is titanium. The back seats have been chucked out and lightweight buckets added up front. The four-wheel-steering has been dropped, losing 32kg on its own. Even the glass and boot floor are thinner and a smaller 7in infotainment used, which saves all of 250g.
In place of the steering rear axle there’s now a conventional H-beam. If that seems a little unsophisticated, the rest of the running gear more than makes up for it. The front suspension is completely revised and Ohlins adjustable dampers added front and back. There’s a Torsen limited-slip diff, huge Brembo brakes and it rolls on Bridgestone Potenza tyres.
If you want to stop even harder, carbon ceramic brakes are optional. But you need to spec the carbon wheels as well, as the discs won’t actually fit behind the standard rims.
Inside, there’s not much besides the Sabelt seats and 7in screen. A strut brace between the rear suspension towers renders the boot pretty much useless, but who cares?
A six-speed manual ‘box gets the power down. Renault claims a 0-62mph time of 5.4secs and a top speed of 163mph.
500 examples of the Trophy-R will be built, 13 of which will come to the UK.
Oddly, Renault says the carbon wheel and carbon ceramic brake options will be available on just 30 cars. The rest, though, can be optioned with adjustable rear bumpstops and shorter springs, a lithium battery, an air intake where a driving light would normally be and six-point harnesses.
As you would expect, the Trophy-R isn’t exactly cheap. Renault hasn’t announced UK prices, but rumours suggest around £50,000. And as much as £70,000 with all the options.
That’s an awful lot of money for a hot hatch. But it’s not much money for a car that early reviews are saying is as thrilling to drive as the Porsche 911 GT3-RS.
But the price doesn’t really matter. There are enough Renaultsport enthusiasts in the UK that the 13 cars destined for these shores could be sold 20 times over.
By Graham King