I’M A HATCHBACK kind of guy. I like the idea of a lightweight boxer mixing it with the heavyweights and coming up trumps. Two-door styling suits me too, as it sends the right messages – people in the back are unnecessary weight and if you want to sit in the car I am going to make it difficult for you to get in. Also, I haven’t got to the stage where ride comfort plays a role in my purchasing factors, so this Mégane suits me down to the ground.
For starters I have 195kW at my disposal, all of that being delivered to the front wheels via a short-throw six-speed gearbox. Now it’s common knowledge that if you want to endow such massive power to a front-wheel drive car and then make it corner, you’re going to need a clever differential or some other way to reduce the amount of understeer you get when you force it to turn and accelerate at the same time. The RenaultSport team has gone for the limited-slip differential option, forcing drive to the wheel opposite to the direction you’re turning. That’s as detailed as I’ll go for now, but let’s say that it works very well.
This car though is the special edition Trophy spec model, identified as the Alpha male of the RS pack by its big red decal kit and extra-special sticky rubber in the form of Bridgestone Potenza RA050A tyres. Just to give you an idea of what this car can do, I’ll use its Nürburgring lap time as a reference. Most manufacturers test there as it throws up a unique set of handling challenges, engineers calculate that a lap there is worth more than 1000km of normal road testing. The Trophy has a lap time of 8m07.97s – which is the lap record for a front-wheel drive car. Some of the scalps claimed with that time include the likes of BMW 1 Series M Coupe, Ferrari 360 Modena and Audi’s TTRS Coupe. So you see that it’s very, very fast.
At the beginning of the story I stated that ride quality doesn’t factor-in to my list of requirements when choosing a car. Coming from a karting background, I’m used to waking up to bruises surrounding my spine and lats as the jolts from having no suspension really take their toll on a body. With its Mégane Cup chassis, the Trophy is as hard as concrete and transmits every bump, undulation and surface change into the cabin where the driver is buffeted around. But the bucket seats do support lateral loads particularly well, keeping you firmly in the centre of the seat even when viciously attacking a chicane.
Then there’s the noise this thing makes as you blast it through the rev range: it’s like having Darth Vader under your bonnet and listening to him clearing his throat. I can’t get enough of it. The only complaints I’ve had so far have come from the passenger seat where apparently eye-popping cornering skill isn’t appreciated. This may just be the most driver-focused car yet as anyone occupying the seat is certainly going to be terrified and likely never want a ride again. If not that, then I’d say it’s the best front-wheel drive car of all time