The new Renault Megane RS Trophy has 296bhp and bucket seats | Top Gear
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The new Renault Megane RS Trophy has 296bhp and bucket seats

Renaultsport adds power, beefier brakes and noise to the Megane hot hatch

Published: 19 Jul 2018

If you couldn’t decide between the new Renault Megane RS and the Megane RS Cup, then we have troubling news. There’s a new version already. However, if you like near-300bhp hot hatchbacks, this could be very good news indeed. This is the new RS Megane Trophy.

Here are the headlines. Thanks to a ceramic turbocharger bearing offering reduced friction, and a new, valve-fitted exhaust that improves engine breathing (and the note trumpeted from the tailpipes) power is up from 276bhp to 296bhp. It’s all sent to the front wheels, via a standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

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Spec the DCT and you’ll enjoy an even healthier rise in torque. The manual’s boosted from 288lb ft to 295lb ft, but you can have as much as 310lb ft in the paddleshift car. So far, Renaultsport has only quoted numbers for the manual Trophy, which takes 5.7sec to reach 62mph from standstill (down a mere tenth from the stock version), and now reaches 162mph, instead of 158mph.

Renaultsport says the low-inertia turbo uses knowledge gained in F1 engines, which has helped them gain power despite a new emissions filter increasing backpressure in the combustion process. Wonder if it will be more reliable than a Red Bull racecar?

Look beyond drag times and the Trophy’s dripping with detail tweaks. The 355mm Brembo front brakes use a ‘bi-material’ alloy saving 1.8kg per disc, while apparently reducing brake fade on track. And while you’re barreling around the track happy in the knowledge the stoppers won’t turn to chocolate, you can lean on a standard Megane Cup chassis running 25 per cent firmer shocks, 30 per cent stiffer springs, and 10 per cent stiffer anti-roll bars than the base-spec RS Megane Sport.

Doing their best to hold you in place are new, 20mm lower Recaro buckets seats, which will hopefully do the job better than the rubbish Renault-own-brand seats found in the standard car.

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In other news, Renault’s come up with a new design of 19-inch alloy wheel to mark out the Trophy. In 2019, there’ll be a lighter 19-inch rim on offer, saving 2kg per wheel, and arriving wrapped in a sticky, bespoke Bridgestone Potenza S007 tyre.

It’s not just old-fashioned tuning at work here. Renaultsport has had the laptops out and reworked the Megane Trophy’s controversial 4Control four-wheel steering, to hopefully make it less haphazard and unpredictable. Currently, the RS Megane’s weird driving mode schizophrenia, punishing ride and bizarre handling balance is enough to cede its hot hatch honours to the likes of the Honda Civic Type R and Hyundai i30N.

We’ll be waiting patiently to see if the Trophy can, well, get its mitts on the silverware next time around…

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