Daniel Ricciardo is the new pin-up boy of Australian motorsport, so Renault Australia is seeking to capitalise on his success by introducing a new limited edition hot hatch, the Megane RS Trophy.
After two days steering an RS Trophy around some of Tasmania’s finest roads, including many Targa Tasmania stages, there’s no doubt Renault has a product that is worth capitalising on.
Megane RS Trophy can hold its head high among some fierce opposition, including Subaru WRX STi, Volkswagen Golf R and VW Scirocco R.
Renault Megane RS Trophy hits the market at $52,990 in a similar ballpark to its rivals. The Megane Trophy RS 275 has been released to celebrate the front wheel drive record set in July 2014 at the Nurburgring in a Megane Trophy-R. The Trophy-R is also coming to Australia next year as a limited edition with just 50 allocated to this country.
Megane Trophy has a classic shape that is a genuine head-turner, particularly in liquid yellow, one of only two available colours. Just 100 limited edition Trophy cars are coming to Australia – 50 in liquid yellow and 50 in pearl white.
About 11 per cent of Renault sales in Australia come from the Renault Sport performance division. Worldwide, Australia now only trails France as the most popular country for Renault Sport cars.
Targa Tasmania roads are demanding on every aspect of cars, but particularly handling. This is where the RS Trophy shines. It turns in beautifully at speed into tight corners and powers out without fuss. Trophy has a limited slip differential fitted to the front of the car that reduces the tendency to torque steer. The system sends more torque to the outside wheel, greatly reducing the car’s tendency to want to steer for the other side of the road.
At the heart of the new Renault Megane RS Trophy is a 201 kW turbocharged four-cylinder engine, linked to a six-speed manual shifter.
The engine powers the 1376 kg Megane to a top speed of 255 km/h and the 0-100 km/h sprint is achieved in 6.0 seconds. At the heart of what the Megane Trophy is really all about are the driving dynamics.
If we had complaints about this Renault RS Trophy it would be the stiff suspension and noise intrusion into the cabin. The suspension is wonderful on good to great road surfaces. Anything less and the ride becomes a chore for passengers.
To Renault’s credit some of the roads we went on just out of Launceston were not great. So, those intending to use the car on the race track of on highways and major well-maintained roads need not have a concern.
We also found a lot of road noise came into the cabin – we suspect because of the 19” alloy wheels. This was at its worst on coarse bitumen and would probably not be the norm to the degree we noted.
The sports suspension linked with the Cup chassis benefits from a range of other extras resigned to make the car go fast around circuits. The stability control has been tuned to allow more enthusiastic driving in addition to having Normal, Sport and Off (the latter for race track) settings.
Megane Trophy is shod with 19-inch alloy wheels that wear Bridgestone Potenza 235/35 ZR19 tyres. It stops pretty well too thanks to Brembo 4-piston calipers operating on 340 mm ventilated discs at the front and 290 mm solid discs at the back.
Megane RS Trophy looks the part of a hot hatch. It also sounds it thanks to exhaust refinement by iconic exhaust system maker, Akrapovic.
Trophy comes standard with a titanium exhaust system that barks at high revs like an angry junkyard dog. It borders on being addictive. Akrapovic is also responsible for the carbon exhaust tailpipe that sits in the rear end.
New exterior livery includes Trophy branding on the platinum grey front blade and the body sides are personalised bench seat Trophy decals. The bottom of the doors feature a chequered flag graphic also in platinum grey.
The out-there livery extends to the interior. Trophy comes with leather and Alcantara Recaro bucket seats with red stitching that also carries over to the rear pew, and the head rests have Renault Sport badging. The red stitching continues on the steering wheel trim, hand brake and gear lever knob.
The is the latest limited edition sporty Megane that started with the Trophy 8:08 version in 2011 and was followed by the Red Bull Racing RB7 in 2012 and the Red Bull Racing RB8 in 2013.
AT A GLANCE
Renault Megane RS Trophy:
WARRANTY: 5 Years/Unlimited km
SERVICING: $299 per year for the first three years
ENGINE: 2.0-litre turbo-petrol (201 kW/360Nm)
TRANSMISSION: six-speed manual