Megane Evolves 220kW/420Nm! Megane RS Trophy inbound. LOOK OUT, Honda, Renault is coming for you. The standard Megane RS will have just landed in Australia as you read this, but there is already a harder, sharper, faster Trophy version on the horizon. It’s scheduled to arrive locally in the second half of 2019; Renault Australia says it is still too early to comment on pricing, but we’d be surprised if it departed too far from the $50,000 mark.
Renault Mégane RS Trophy
Under the bonnet is a revised version of Renault’s new 1.8-litre turbo four, shared with the forthcoming Alpine A110 sports car, producing 220kW/400Nm, a 15kW/10Nm lift over the standard Megane RS. Tick the six-speed dual-clutch option, though, and you’ll benefit from an extra 20Nm as well as launch control. The added grunt has been liberated by revisions to the turbocharger, which now uses ceramic ball bearings in order to offset the substantial increase in back pressure caused by the fitting of a particulate filter, required to comply with the strict new European emissions regulations.
A new exhaust system also helps and features a mechanical valve for the first time on an RS model, opening or closing depending on the drive mode selected for increased refinement or a louder note. The benchmark 0-100km/h sprint is claimed to take 5.7sec, identical to the Civic Type R, while its claimed top-speed is 260km/h.
Renault Australia’s decision to only offer the Cup chassis option on manual Megane RSs means that if you want the ultimate in handling precision and a self-shifting gearbox, you’ll have to buy a Trophy. Ticking the Cup box firms the dampers by 25 per cent, the springs by 30 per cent and the anti-roll bars by 10 per cent but, crucially, adds a Torsen limited-slip diff.
The Trophy retains the standard car’s trick new all-wheel steering system, which turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts up to 60km/h to increase agility yet in the same direction above that speed to improve stability. In Race mode, the speed threshold increases to 100km/h.
Bi-material front brake rotors are also included, the mix of aluminium and cast iron shedding 1.8kg of unsprung mass per corner. Further weight can be dropped by selecting the optional ‘Fuji’ wheels, which are 2kg lighter per wheel than the standard ‘Jerez’ items, and also come shod with Bridgestone Potenza S007 tyres rather than the standard S001s. The Jerez wheel design is inspired by that on Renault’s R.S.01 concept supercar and named after the circuit at which it made its debut.
Aside from the wheels, the only external difference between the Trophy and the standard RS are the Trophy stripes added to the F1-style front blade. Inside, Alcantara-wrapped Recaro seats are an option while drivers can sit up to 20mm lower than before thanks to modifications of the original seat base. We’ll have a full test of the Renault Megane RS in a couple of issues’ time, which should provide a very good understanding of how the Trophy will drive and also the areas it will need to improve on. Hot Meganes have been among MOTOR’s favourite hot hatches for most of the past decade, but the new Trophy will have to be spectacular to wrest that title from the Honda Civic Type R, our reigning Performance Car of the Year.
RIGHT Alcantara-wrapped Recaros optional; ‘Jerez’ wheels standard, lighter ‘Fuji’ items optional.
MAIN New Megane Trophy expected to land in Oz in the second half of 2019 – pricing TBC.
RIGHT It’s a golden era for hot hatches, the new Megane joining the Golf GTI, i30 N, 308 GTi and Civic Type R – tough competition.