This is the fastest, most capable fast hatchback I’ve driven. And frankly, I’d be surprised were it any other way. It’s the quickest front-drive car ever to lap the Nürburgring, and the measures RenaultSport has gone to in order to ensure its supremacy are extraordinary. The rear seats have gone, It has thin glass, racing seats, a carbon bonnet, titanium exhaust, no rear wash wipe… and so on and on and on. The car I drove was in full ’Ring spec too, with ceramic brakes and carbon fibre wheels.
It’s a trifle lively on the road as you might imagine, though its trick Öhlins dampers means it can set a blistering if not desperately comfortable pace from one point to the next. But who am I kidding? This is a track car, and on the track it is exceptionally rapid.
But I’d expect something else too: namely a driving experience that was as fun as it was fast, even more so in fact. And that’s where it slips up. It feels set up to do a lap time, not make the driver hoot with laughter. And then there’s the price: £51,140 if you do without the top-line bits, and a scarcely credible £72,140 with those wheels and brakes included. This is the same money the same company charges for an Alpine A110 with the same number of seats, which gives an incomparably richer, more rewarding driving experience on road or track.
Renault Mégane RS Trophy R
Engine 1.8 litres, 4 cylinders, turbo
Power to weight 164bhp per tonne
Transmission Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Top speed 163mph
Verdict Fast, but lacking in fun factor
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