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PH Fleet

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Tuesday 11th December 2012


PH FLEET: RENAULTSPORT MEGANE 265 CUP

Say hello to the latest addition to the PH fleet


PH is safe territory to admit to lost hours crunching the numbers on specsheets. Sure, there's a proviso here that no money has changed hands for this loan. But we got to choose our spec and believe me when I say it no less time was spent evaluating the worth of options and final build.

Line up rivals, the PH benchmark is here
Line up rivals, the PH benchmark is here
The fact I actually chose this months back and had to go back through my emails to remind myself of what we were getting added a second hit of excitement. Christ, what if I hadn't specced the Cup pack? I had. Had I remembered to choose the stealthy black 18s over the blingy, red-rimmed 19s? Thankfully yes. And what about Recaros? I'll be kicking myself if I didn't choose the Recaros... Phew, yes.

Let's rewind a little though. The basics are obvious enough - a Capsicum Red Renaultsport Megane 265 Cup. An iconic hot hatch and, arguably, one of the most PH-worthy front-wheel drive cars currently on sale. A benchmark by which anything in the sub-£30K price bracket should be judged, wherever its engine is, whichever wheels are driven and whatever badge it has. Everything from Caterhams to Toyobarus and BMW M135is - meet the everyday friendly performance car you have to beat. It's going to be an interesting year...

Black 18s will hopefully take edge off ride
Black 18s will hopefully take edge off ride
But back to that spec. PHers are by nature fastidious number crunchers. So indulge me here.

As ever you start with the broad strokes, before getting down to detail. Fundamentals? Well, it was going to have to have a Cup chassis with the limited-slip diff and more hardcore suspension settings. But full-fat, with the Cup pack as an additional extra? Or more purist, cheaper Cup spec, which gets it as standard but strips out a lot of the additional garnish? Six months in a 197 Cup in a previous life taught me all I needed to know about the brilliance and lack of compromise in Renaultsports Cup chassis. So 18-inch wheels, not the blingy and rather ugly 19-inch Speedlines to take the edge off a bit were another basic.

Predicting that pricing is going to be a hot topic in all comparisons we make with this car and in keeping with a more PHey no-nonsense spirit I opted for Cup spec, £1,200 cheaper than the full fat with an additional £1,350 'credit' in the shape of the cost of adding the Cup pack to a full fat. Employing man maths that makes the Cup £2,550 'cheaper' than a comparable full fat.

Recaros were an absolute no brainer
Recaros were an absolute no brainer
What do you lose? Well, to my mind nothing you can't live without. No 'Electrochrome' rear view mirror, no leather, no power adjustment for the driver's seat, no rear seat armrest and a basic key card rather than the handsfree jobby on the full-fat. Oh, and air-con rather than climate. Fine by me. Losing the option to add all round parking sensors may be a worry, given experience shows visibility from the Megane coupe is worse even than the Evoque we had previously. At least you get basic rear bleepers as standard.

And what have I spent that credit note on? Well, Recaros were a £1,300 indulgence but, given my experience of the Clio 197, an essential tick. We'll see if £350 for the Renaultsport Monitor onboard telemetry is anything more than a gimmick but for dark, leafy lanes bi-xenons are a no-brainer with the Arkamys stereo to take the edge off commuting. No nav with the Monitor though. Dog-eared atlas it is then.

OK, it's not quite stealth but it's purist spec
OK, it's not quite stealth but it's purist spec
So I've added the best part of three grand to the price and the grand total is £28,115. Not shy. But a comparably specced full fat with Cup pack, Recaros, Monitor, xenons and the rest would be over £30K. With a few extra toys, admittedly. But I like to think we've gone for a reasonably purist spec and the clean, uncluttered look to the interior would seem to back that up.

Now we've got the number crunching out of the way we should see about driving it. Ah yes, about that. Those up to speed with my situation will have spotted a flaw in this plan. So new boy Alex is going to be putting the bulk of the time in at the wheel. I say the bulk. I have plans in this regard...


FACT SHEET
Car:
Renaultsport Megane 265 Cup
Run by: Alex (and Dan when circumstances allow)
On fleet since: December 2012
Mileage: 595
List price new: £28,115 (Basic list of £24,840 plus £350 for Renaultsport Monitor, £1,300 for Recaro seat upgrade, £750 for bi-xenon lights, £250 for hands free card with push-button start, £75 for spare wheel, £250 for tyre pressure monitor, £300 for Arkamys Bluetooth/USB ICE system)
Last month at a glance: Just delivered!

Author: Dan Trent