Renault’s spanking new track inspired Megane Renaultsport 250, and Megane Renaultsport 250 Cup, are guaranteed contenders for the world’s best hot hatch title, if the specifications just announced are anything to go by.
Renault know how to build a proper hot hatch, they did that with the Megane R26, which was a cracker of car, both on the road and on the track.
Moreover it was superb driver’s car, despite being front wheel drive. The addition of a mechanical limited-slip differential saw to that. There was very little torque steer, and its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine was especially potent.
But the styling of the previous Megane wasn’t to everyone’s liking, you either tolerated it or hated it, but no one loved it. I was somewhere in the middle, due to the car’s stunning all-round performance and exclusivity, when compared to the more common and slightly less manic Golf GTI.
The new Megane 250 Renaultsport is more a revolution than an evolution, with brilliant styling and detail, which should prove a winner to a wider group of motoring enthusiasts than the previous generation car found.
Customers will be able to order the standard Sport chassis, which is said to deliver the perfect balance between performance and daily driveability.
For those track day enthusiasts, there is the Cup chassis, which adds a limited slip differential and significantly stiffer spring and damper rates, for competition-like performance.
You won’t have any trouble recognising the Cup chassis over the standard Megane 250 either, thanks to its grooved brake discs and four-pot red brake calipers by Brembo.
Peak power from the 2.0-litre, twin-scroll turbocharged engine is 186kW with maximum torque of 340Nm at 3000 rpm across a wide rev-band. These numbers are seriously close to that of Audi’s potent S3 output.
Renault have chosen excellent tyres for both chassis’s, with the Sport shod with Dunlop SP Sport Max TT (225/40) and the Cup with wider Michelin Pilot Sport 2 235/40 rubber on standard 18-inch ‘Keza’ alloys.
Among a host of sensible options available on both Megane 250 chassis’ are some 19-inch alloys from Italian wheel maker Speedline. These are wrapped with a set of Continental Sport Contact 5 Performance tyres (235/35 R 19 Y) for extra grip.
Despite the performance pedigree, Renault has not forgotten about creature comforts in the Renaultsport 250.
Standard kit includes leather interior, heated front seats, electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory, Renault Hands Free card, dual-zone climate control, automatic on for headlights and wipers, privacy glass, tyre pressure monitor and more.
Cosmetic styling is exceptional, especially in Sport Yellow, with its front bumper and F1 style blade, door mirrors and rear diffuser finished in gloss black as standard fit.
There’s one option box you might want to tick and that’s the Renaultsport Monitor, which provides on-board telemetry not dissimilar to that in the Renault Formula One car.
Those functions include:
Also new on the Renaultsport 250 is the Renaultsport Dynamic Management system, which offers drivers three degrees of electronic aid including an “off” mode which means as it says, completely off!
Standing starts should receive a boost too with a new system called PowerStart, which allows fast starts (when ESP is selected) without loss of grip off the line.
Top speed is not listed in the specifications, but the Megane Renaultsport will do the 0-100km/h sprint in just 6.1 seconds.
No one, to my knowledge has ever had anything negative to say about the steering feedback in the Megane R26, so the electric power steering in the Megane Renaultsport, has been specially calibrated for performance driving and with more precise feedback, and a closer steering ratio than the previous iteration.
Renault has chosen to equip the car with a six-speed manual box using taller gear ratios and a more precise shift. It’s a pity that there isn’t a paddle shifter option for this car, through a dual clutch transmission, but then again, that may not be as much fun for the hard-core enthusiasts.
For all of the performance of the new Megane Renaultsport 250, it is remarkably CO2 friendly, producing emissions of just 195g/km and a combined fuel consumption of 8L/100kms.
Managing Director of Renault in Australia Rudi Koening, has told CarAdvice that the Megane Renaultsport 250 is a car they expect to see in Australia next year, and are working hard to make that happen.
We wish him well.