A powerful and good-looking hot hatch: you’ll love the Mégane Renaultsport 265, writes car reviewer Tim Barnes-Clay.
The Mégane Renaultsport is widely acclaimed by many as the benchmark hot hatch.
The car looks fantastic. It’s muscular and it sits low to the ground with meaty 18-inch wheels filling the flared wheel-arches.
2.0 litre turbo engine
At the front, twinkly LED lights give the Mégane a fashionable appearance and, at the rear, a wide central tailpipe more than hints that this is no ordinary Renault.
Under the bonnet, a beast sits quietly, daring you to awaken it with a press of the starter button - 132.5 horsepower per litre says it all.
The French automaker’s engineers have drawn on all the experience acquired by Renaultsport at racetracks to shoehorn this performance out of a 2.0 litre turbo engine.
The petrol engine that powers the Mégane Renaultsport 265 brags maximum power of 265hp and peak torque of 360Nm.
Torque is pulling power and it’s best described as the grunt that gets you moving, while horsepower is what keeps you going.
That feeling of your eyeballs being yanked into the back of your head in a fast car during right-foot hammering is an example of extreme torque.
And that’s what it’s like to drive the Mégane Renaultsport 265.
Selecting the Mégane’s Sport Mode button unleashes the full 265hp, while the default setting produces 250hp for improved fuel economy.
But the front-wheel-drive car can catch you out when all this power is set down.
For example, during heavy acceleration, there’s a tugging sensation on the steering wheel. This is known as “torque steer”.
Changing up or down the manual transmission is easy because the car’s six gears are clear-cut, meaning on fast up or down shifts the cogs always find their home.
The clutch is incredibly stiff though, making your left foot ache in slow-moving traffic.
Choice of two chassis
The Mégane Renaultsport is available with a choice of two chassis.
The first, standard option, delivers the ideal trade-off between sports performance and comfort, while the second is a pure sports-focused, teeth-rattling, hard “Cup” chassis.
The car I had on test had the normal chassis – and this is definitely the one to go for if you want the Renault for everyday use.
The alternative Cup base frame of the Mégane Renaultsport gives the ultimate driving experience, but it’s best suited for track days.
Commute anywhere for long with this chassis and you’ll soon be visiting your dentist to have your fillings put back in.
There’s some clever gadgetry inside the cabin to help keep you on top of your driving.
The Renaultsport Monitor is a tracking system providing you with real-time data.
It takes its inspiration directly from technology employed in motor sport and collects information through sensors.
You can scroll through the system’s different functions using the steering wheel-mounted controls.
The dashboard display shows performance data such as acceleration time and turbo boost pressure.
To be behind the wheel of the Mégane Renaultsport 265 will be paradise for petrolheads – but the experience won’t come cheaply if you want to own a new one.
The car retails for £26,930 from a dealer, so, take my advice and wait for a tidy used example.
You’ll love it.
Pros & cons
- Power √
- Stance √
- Technology √
- Heavy clutch X
- Torque steer X
- Max speed: 158 mph
- 0-62 mph: 6.0 secs
- Combined mpg: 37.7
- Engine: 1998 cc 4 cylinder 16 valve turbo petrol
- Max. power (bhp): 265 at 5500 rpm
- Max. torque (lb/ft): 265 at 3000 rpm
- CO2: 174 g/km
- Price: £26,930 on the road
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