Trophy Class Renault Megane R.S.

At the top step of the Renault Megane podium you will now find a new leader, the Megane R.S. Trophy. With power up 16kW over the standard R.S to 221kW and torque up by 30Nm to 420Nm, the result is a 0-100km/h time of 5.7 seconds, just a 0.1 improvement over the Megane R.S. I drove last year.

The Trophy is available with a manual or 6-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox and this time around I got to sample the dual-clutch. The gearbox is very obedient for all but the silliest downshifts and equally as good on upshifts and if you have this gearbox in manual mode there is a beep just before the red line to tell you when to upshift. You manually change gears using the column mounted gear shifters and I felt the shifters needed to be a bit longer, as I missed them a couple of times while driving spiritedly through the corners.

Of course driving in this manner does little for your fuel consumption figures and for my week I used 16.1L/100km, which is double the official combined fuel consumption of 8L/100km and more than I used in the lesser powered Megane R.S. manual I drove last year (12.4L/100km).

With the gearbox engaged in auto and driving in Perso mode the Megane will rev to the 6,400rpm red line of the 1.8 litre turbocharged petrol engine before it changes up to the next gear with a loud bark from the active valve exhaust system. On the overrun there are many pops and bangs, but it is a bit less dramatic on downshift and in Comfort mode the exhaust is much quieter, if you don’t fancy waking up the neighbours.

For a front-wheel drive car there really isn’t much torque steer from the Trophy and it is very zippy off the line. But the front tyres do struggle for traction under hard acceleration and this is extenuated in the wet and I got some tramping of the front tyres under hard acceleration.

I really liked the exterior design of the Megane, it says hot hatch, but is not extreme looking. The Trophy has sexy side vents and the 19” Jerez wheel rims are cool, especially combined with the red Brembo brakes. The red highlights mixed with the optional Liquid Yellow metallic paint looks great in my opinion.

Even getting into the Megane is an event as you are greeted by a growl and heartbeat before you hit the start button. The seats are covered in black Alcantara with red stitching; they are really lovely to touch and they hold you in snuggly in a firm but comfortable way.  The front seats have manual adjustment for forward/back, recline and height and they are heated. I also liked the R.S. stitching on the head rests and the faux carbon fibre highlights in the door and across the dash.

The steering wheel design has Nappa leather where you grip at ‘9’ and ‘3’ and Alcantara on the other part and I think this is the right way to do it as Alcantara doesn’t wear well in the long term. The voice control button is designated with an androgynous face outline and it worked well for setting a destination and is also available to use for media selection, phone calls and My Apps.

The matt finished centre console and horizontal 8.7” touchscreen that don’t show finger marks are also great features of the cabin. But the cup holders are quite shallow, so if you are partaking in some spirited driving with your coffee stowed in them, it may go for a tumble under hard braking or cornering. There is a good drink bottle storage cubby in the doors though to keep you hydrated on your drives.

The R.S. Trophy comes with a 9 speaker BOSE sound system that includes a subwoofer and digital amplifier to enjoy your media from the AM/FM radio, DAB, Bluetooth, USB or AUX.  At front of centre console there are two USBs, one 12V outlet and one AUX inlet to connect to the system and also access Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

But the real entertainment comes from launching the R.S. Monitor on the screen so you can delve into the inner workings of your Megane with data for temps, throttle/brake trace, lateral G force and steering angle. The final screen gives you a lap timer and 0-100km/h timer, but the problem with the Megane system is you need to take your hand off the steering wheel in order to start the timing and so your reaction time is slowed. It really needs a button on the steering wheel to start your lap timing to fix this.

Hit the R.S. Drive button, which is also called Multisense and is designated by a flower, and your choice of five drive modes become available to select from; Comfort, Neutral, Sport, Race and Perso. In Race mode the driver’s dash becomes race car like with a digital speedo and rpm indicator across the top and it also turns off the ESC. The ambient lighting also changers colour depending on the drive mode you are in Comfort is blue, Neutral is green, Sport and Race are red and Perso is purple.

I spent the vast majority of my week in Perso with everything switched to Race mode, but ESC in Sport mode. The Trophy has Cup chassis tuned suspension for firmer springs, shock absorbers, stiffer anti-roll bar and longer bump stops, which are hydraulic. This all sounds like you should get a back breaking ride, but I found in Comfort mode the ride was bearable, but in Sport/Race mode the suspension is unapologetically harsh.

For a hatchback I was quite surprised by how much head and leg room there is in the back of the Megane, two adults could comfortably sit back there. The centre seat folds down to an arm rest with drink holders and you also have drink bottle storage in the door cubbies. There are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but only room for two due to the width of the car. Rear passengers get air vents with speed control only and one 12V outlet for devices.

The size is of the manually opened boot is adequate for a hatchback and it would fit a stroller and the weekly shop. In place of a spare tyre under the boot floor is the BOSE sound system and a run flat tyre kit. For extra storage space the rear seats have a 40/60 split folding mechanism.

Driver assistance on the Megane R.S. Trophy comes in the form of adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking (inter-urban). It has a standard rear view reversing camera with surround parking sensors and easy park assist. Passive safety includes driver and passenger adaptive front airbags, lateral pelvis and chest-level airbags for driver and front passenger and front and rear curtain airbags. The Renault Megane range does not have an ANCAP safety rating though.

All new Renault vehicles now come with a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty and up to four years road side assistance if your vehicle is serviced at a Renault dealer. The first three services on the Megane R.S. are capped at $799, $399 and $399 respectively, but this has some exclusions. The Megane is also subject to adaptive servicing requirements as determined by the Oil Condition Sensor, and may require servicing prior to standard 12 months or 20,000km service interval.

Driving the Megane R.S. Trophy is a lot of fun and it was a winner in my book and worthy of its Trophy moniker. Prices start at $55,990 plus on-road costs and as tested with optional metallic paint my car was $56,990 plus on-roads. Visit your preferred Renault dealer to take a test drive for yourself.

ProsCons
Stylish, but understated hot hatchShallow cup holders
Enjoyable engineNeeds a ‘start button’ on the steering wheel for the lap timer
Configurable Perso drive modeNo ANCAP safety rating

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.