The Renault Megane R.S. range currently tops out at the new R.S. Turbo Cup model. It’s equipped with an optional (as tested) Efficient Dual Clutch (EDC) automatic transmission. The Cup model sits above the GT-Line, GT, R.S. Sport variants for now, so becomes the most capable of putting a smile on your dial!
What Is It?
The very definition of a hot hatch. The aggressive looks are merely the entrée, it’s backed by a level of performance that track enthusiasts look for and a whistling turbo to suit.
The ride is low and stiffer, plus 4CONTROL four-wheel steering adds to an extremely dynamic package. The interior is suitably sporty enough with a stack of high-end Alcantara. There are splashes of red stitching, a red centre line on the steering wheel and aluminium pedals.
Plus, with the rather vibrant Tonic Orange paintwork, the appeal goes up even another notch. Oh, and there’s launch control, I think you get the point.
Behind the Wheel
The thing about sitting behind the wheel of a Renault, is that many functions are in places you just don’t expect. The audio controls are behind the right side of the steering wheel, spread across a kind of paddle.
The cruise control functions are unconventional, with centre console and steering mounted buttons. But having spent some time in Renault press cars this year I’ve overcome these ‘quirks’, as any owner would pretty quickly as well.
You’re onto a good hot hatch when you hear the exhaust grumble to life the moment you hit the start button. Those living next door are left in little doubt you’re about to leave the building.
Of course, me being me, I straight away go looking for some kind of sports mode. Via the R.S. mode button I skip straight from Comfort, bypass Neutral consider Sport but then settle on Race. There’s also a personal mode, so you can tailor the settings yourself.
But after a short burst, I decided having all the traction control modes off while just driving around like a normal person, is, well dumb. However, Sport mode is more than enough, delivering massive punch under the right foot, slick and quick gear shifts with sharp steering, that’s possibly a little too heavy at times.
Scooting past other motorists and lifting off the throttle, lets them and your ego know this little baby is more than capable of mixing it with some heavyweights. It makes all the right noises, snorts, crackles, pops and frankly farts.
A hot hatch isn’t always about straight line speed but given the R.S. Megane Cup EDC can hit 100km/h in 5.8 seconds it pushes out my personal favourite, the Hyundai i30N, by close to half a second.
Launch mode is an interesting affair, especially with Race Mode on. It’s simply a matter of holding back both paddle shifters, foot on the brake and flooring the accelerator until three consecutive green lights on the dash appear and then black out.
The Torsen mechanical limited-slip differential on the front axle does a great job getting power to the ground, even with traction control off. There’s a controlled screech of wheels and a safe but rapid surge forward. But this kind of behaviour is always best reserved for the track or very isolated roads, thankfully there’s a plethora around my area.
The 4MOTION four-wheel steering is just noticeable, but given I tackled only urban areas there was no real opportunity to truly appreciate it. But there’s a clear helping hand from the rear-end that leads to a sharper, more balanced turn in.
A 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder delivers the excitement via 205kW at 6000rpm and 390Nm of torque at 2400rpm. The six-speed dual clutch transmission sends power to the front wheels. A purist would go for the manual, but this box is sharp enough to give most people enough thrills.
Grip is delivered by 245/35R19 Bridgestone Potenza rubber. The ride is a tad firm and overall the car has a tad more mechanical feel to it than some more reserved types, such as the Golf GTi.
The boot seemed big enough to me, at 434L plus the car also passed the ‘Henry’ test. When my a two-and-a bit year old calls a car a ‘special car’, it’s got something going for it.
Apple CarPlay is standard via the 8.7-inch R-Link touchscreen infotainment system, as is Android Auto. There’s a tidy 10 speaker Bose sound system, plus I love the LED ambient lighting.
Driver assist safety features include low speed Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). Although the latter caught me out a couple of times, as it lacks a stop and go mode so turns off at very low speeds, such as approaching banked up traffic.
The Renault Megane R.S. Cup starts from $51,990. Metallic paint is an $800 option, or the hero colours called Liquid Yellow or Tonic Orange add $1,000. If you need a sunroof jack the price up another $1,990.
Fuel Economy is rated at 7.5L/100km, gee that’s going to be tough to achieve. I was closer to 9.0L/100km on the EFTM Proving Ground.
Why Would You Buy One?
Because it has the flair, the performance and the heritage that I feel is respected by many. Or you’re French.
EFTM Rubber Stamp of Approval.
Renault has always produced a car that feels ‘different’ to others, sometimes that hasn’t always been a good thing. But overall this really is a ripper, if you can put up with the fact the Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R is now on pre-sale for pre-registered customers for a release early next year, I’d be checking one out if this is your segment. It’s an 8.3 out of 10 from me.
Chris is EFTM’s Motoring Editor, driving everything from your entry level hatch to the latest Luxury cars through to the Rolls Royce.
He has been in the media for 20 years, produced three Olympic games broadcasts, attending Beijing 2008 & London 2012.
Strangely he owns a Toyota Camry Hybrid, he defiantly rejects the knockers.
Chris is married to Gillian and resides in Sydney’s North West. They have Sam the English Springer Spaniel and Felix the Burmese cat to keep them company, and recently welcomed baby Henry to the family.