Renault Megane RS Cup
Hot Renault’s have traditionally been bone shatteringly hardcore, barely similar to the standard vehicle on which they had been based. There’s good reason for this too. The team responsible for Renaultsport products may be a subsidiary of the Renault group, but in all respects it’s a completely different entity operating from headquarters in Dieppe, Northern France.
This Renaultsport bunch just so happen to prepare the firm’s racing cars and organise the Eurocup Mégane Trophy international race series. All of which goes some way to explain how they manage to transform very ordinary mainstream hatchbacks into simply exceptional driver’s cars.
No surprise then that I was mighty keen to have a go in the newly launched Megane RS Cup – currently the most hardcore Megane on sale.
Mechanically you might think the RS Cup follows the template set by its predecessor. A turbocharged 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine channelling power through a six-speed manual gearbox. While it is basically the same unit, through a little bit of witchcraft (and a twin-scroll turbocharger) they’ve squeezed out an extra 14kW, pushing total output to 184kW, which is a lot.
That’s not the only change though. There’s a more advanced limited-slip differential; 19-inch wheels; grooved Brembo 340 mm front brake discs; a 13 percent stiffer anti-roll bar in front and 7 percent stiffer at the rear; as well as 15 percent stiffer suspension damping over the ‘standard’ RS. That’s a lot of numbers I realise, but all you need to know is that the RS Cup is faster, sharper, tighter and more hardcore than ever before.
From behind the wheel there’s a definite sense that Renaultsport has infused into the Megane every ounce of knowledge they’ve gained from the track to make an incredibly focused and involved drive. The gearshift in precise and the action short allowing for blistering changes, which is followed by brutal power delivery, especially in the upper bands of the rev range.
The front suspension is a MacPherson strut arrangement, incorporating Renault’s ‘PerfoHub’ to reduce torque steer, while a torsion beam takes care of matters at the rear. Couple this with perfectly weighted power assisted steering and turn in is razor sharp with accurate feedback through the tips of your fingers and seemingly endless grip. Understeer is all but non-existent thanks to the limited-slip differential while torque steer is minimal, unless the road surface is particularly uneven.
The good stuff doesn’t end there either. Just take a look at this thing – striking isn’t it? While the standard Megane Coupe is a bit wet, the RS Cup looks wider, lower and more purposeful. The interior continues the theme with Recaro bucket seats and brightly coloured stitching to add to the occasion. The conventional Renaultsport analogue dials (including yellow tachometer) are miles ahead of the digital option used in the standard Megane, while everything else is pretty similar.
When I tested the Renault Clio Sport I thought a hot hatch couldn’t get more focused, however Renault have gone to prove me wrong, a fact I couldn’t be happier about. They now produce the two best hot hatches in the world in my opinion – my only wish is to really give them a thrashing around a race track. In fact I’m looking up the number for Renault’s driver academy right now.
Price: R 399,900
Engine: 1998cc 16-Valve, 4 cylinder Turbo
Power: 184 kW
Torque: 340 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 6.1
Top speed (km/h): 250
Fuel consumption (l/100km): 8.3 (claimed)
Photo credit: Quickpic