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Renault Megane R.S. 300 Trophy – long-term review

Hardcore Trophy meets softcore Sport

Specification:
Renault Megane R.S. 300 Trophy
Engine:
1798cc, 4cyl turbo, FWD, 296bhp, 295lb ft
Claimed MPG:
34.4mpg, 183g/km CO2
Performance:
0–62mph in 5.7secs, 162mph
Weight:
1419kg
Price:
£31,835 OTR/£36,185 as tested/£455pcm

Words: Stephen Dobie

Sunderland AFC are the bane of my life. I’ve loved them since discovering football as a toddler and yet week after week, they do their best to chip away at my adoration. Why is this relevant? Because the same perseverance SAFC ask of me is also necessary with our Megane Trophy.

I adored the previous gen Megane RS, in every one of its forms. As intense and rewarding as hot hatches got, it’s clearly the benchmark Honda’s engineers used for the scintillating Civic Type R. But this Megane has proved a tricky bugger to understand so far, a bipolar hot hatch seemingly unsure whether to serve up the precision of its ancestors or the plushness of a Golf GTI. And achieving neither.

In the same way I keep standing in dodgy League One grounds hoping Sunderland have suddenly become good, I’ve been driving our Trophy at every opportunity hoping I’ll finally have The Drive that brings its blurred character into sharp focus. It’s occasionally happened, but usually at commitment levels beyond its forebears. And my own moral compass.

My suspicion upon first driving the new RS in 2018 was that it’d be easiest to comprehend in its softest form – Sport chassis (comfiest suspension, no limited-slip diff) with the optional paddleshift gearbox – prompting a quiet sit down to ponder just what a boring old man I’d become. This month I’ve been driving our Trophy alongside that exact spec.

It turns out a Megane Sport with EDC is a considerably better everyday car than… well, every RS before it. It’ll slot into your life as easily as any fast VW, even with only six gears rather than seven. But RenaultSport’s still mucked up the details: the paddles are too small and the mechanical handbrake has been switched for electronic, ensuring every journey begins with a reminder you’re a cop out.

It’s objectively more rounded than the Trophy, much like Liverpool are objectively better at kicking balls than Sunderland. But I’ll never support another football team, and I’ll always buy the harder cored, manual-equipped version of any hot hatch, even if it means defying logic. Short of the mesmeric, £72k Trophy R, our Trophy would still be my new Megane of choice.

Mileage: 7243 Our mpg: 26.8

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