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Renault Megane 2014 Review

EXPERT RATING
8
Craig Duff road tests and reviews the Renault Megane RS275 Trophy with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

The first impression of the Renault Megane RS275 Trophy is this: it is yellow, a riotous retina-searing hue.

Lurking beneath the black-finished rims is a set of equally evocative red brake calipers with a black 'Brembo' logo. The Trophy designation is etched into the F1-inspired silver aerofoil in the front bumper.

Since the RS250 arrived in 2013, Australians have interpreted Trophy as meaning 'fast' in French.

This iteration pushes out 201kW - 275 horsepower, hence the name - from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo.

With a six-speed manual the only transmission to hand, the 100 Australian buyers of this limited edition three-door hatch will conduct a symphony of aural aggression, enhanced by the Akrapovic exhaust.

First they will have to overcome the hip-pivoting gyration needed to reach back to the seat belt. The snug and high-sided Recaro front seats aren't appreciated in this situation. My wife wisely slides her seat back to deal with the issue; I refuse, at the risk of dislocating my shoulder.

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  • 2014 Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy 2014 Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy
  • 2014 Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy 2014 Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy
  • 2014 Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy 2014 Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy
  • 2014 Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy 2014 Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy
  • Renault Megane RS275 Trophy Renault Megane RS275 Trophy
  • Renault Megane RS275 Trophy Renault Megane RS275 Trophy
  • Renault Megane RS275 Trophy Renault Megane RS275 Trophy
  • Renault Megane RS275 Trophy Renault Megane RS275 Trophy

Secure yourself within this $52,990 vehicle and there's little to immediately suggest value for money. The steering wheel is wrapped with alcantara, there are alloy pedals in the foot well but the rest of the package is dated, if well-built. The radio looks rudimentary, the air-con functional, not flashy.

Fortunately, the seven-inch touchscreen is a step up. Beyond the multimedia/satnav function is an RS Monitor mode that, on customisable screens, displays track times, throttle opening, brake pressure, power and torque, engine temperature etc.

Fundamentally, though, the RS275 isn't about clothed sophistication. It's about the under-the-sheets touchy-feely stuff; the response from the tyres, steering wheel and chassis to increasingly tighter cornering input; the engine's surge of acceleration as it is kept north of 3000rpm; the shove in the neck as you re-engage on the shift from second to third.

This is a car that rewards good driving

This is a car that rewards good driving. The suspension is less tautly tuned than the Trophy-R's fibreglass-and-resin composite spring setup, which takes the sticker to $61,990. The hardcore R is big on tech and small on luxuries - even the air-con and radio are options overseas - to make it a track-focused special.

Earlier this year at the Nurburgring, the Trophy-R set the front-wheel drive lap record of 7 minutes 54.36s. To put that into context, Porsche claims a similar time for its Cayman S.

The regular Trophy model is more liveable day to day. Still, the official 0-100km/h time of 6.0 seconds doesn't do justice to the fact any Trophy model is a seriously quick hot hatch.

The basic setup is still wound tight but there's enough initial damping to take the terror out of cracks and expansion joints on freeways...providing you don't have chiropractic issues.

The brakes bite hard on what is a fairly trim 1376kg body. The limited-slip front diff and clever steering limit torque steer to a vague tug under full off-the-line acceleration and when winding lock off and power down exiting tight turns.

In any circumstances, the steering is superb. There's a simplicity of action and immediacy of response that makes you wonder why all cars don't drive this way.

The RS275 is an overt reminder there's an art and a passion to driving a car well

Even with the front wheels squirming, the feedback loop is as instant as a driver can hope for, regardless of vehicle cost.

Yes, there are faster cars at this price point. There are no faster front-wheel drive cars though, and the Megane RS275 will hold its own in most situations against comparably priced AWD models from Mitsubishi, Subaru and VW.

In terms of suspension and number of doors, the rivals are a more practical choice, but they won't generate the self-satisfied grin that the Megane can put on the driver.

Pricing guides

$14,990
Based on 54 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$8,800
Highest Price
$22,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO $15,510 – 19,910 2014 Renault Megane 2014 (base) Pricing and Specs
CC Floride LE 2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO $18,370 – 23,320 2014 Renault Megane 2014 CC Floride LE Pricing and Specs
Dynamique 2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO $16,720 – 21,450 2014 Renault Megane 2014 Dynamique Pricing and Specs
Dynamique Summer Edition 2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO $17,490 – 22,110 2014 Renault Megane 2014 Dynamique Summer Edition Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8