Name: Chris Waldren
PH Username: Cp794
Current Car: Ford Focus ST3
The Mégane Renaultsport 250 Cup is a very good car, as has been said already by most of the motoring press - I know because I have read most of the reviews that are out there, so I was really looking forward to driving the car to find out for myself.
Before we could take the cars out on circuit, we were taken round the track with an instructor who showed us the racing line, which gear to take the corners in and how to carry as much speed through them as possible.
As soon as I got the chance to get into the Mégane Renaultsport 250 Cup on my own, I slipped it into first gear and headed out of the pits. I was a bit nervous at first, taking it easy and braking where I didn't need to brake, but as my confidence in the car increased I got quicker and quicker, even taking some of the corners flat.
I also learnt a few things from RacingPete, who told me he didn't like driving on his own so I got a passenger ride with him. He can certainly hustle a car round the circuit and it gave us a good chance to test out the g meter.
But more about the car: the steering is very good, you can feel what the wheels are doing, the limited-slip differential helps to get the power down, the brakes are superb and even with our almost constant abuse of the cars there wasn't any fade.
The chassis is superb; the way the car just grips and hangs on through the corners is immense.
The seating position is also good and I found it very easy to get comfortable, even for someone who is 6'2".
There were a few complaints about the gearbox from some of the guys, but I didn't have any issues, apart from bouncing the car off the limiter and the slightly annoying beep as you were about to run out of revs, although that can be adjusted through the optional performance monitor. This also monitors the brake pressure, oil temp, turbo boost etc, as well as giving different fuel maps and throttle response.
I really like the design of the car; the coupe body works a lot better for me than the VW Scirocco's, no doubt a car the Renault will be compared with when the new, similarly powerful, Scirocco R becomes available. It is a car that can be a practical everyday proposition with a decent boot and a very comfortable and compliant ride.
This isn't a complete Mégane Renaultsport 250 Cup love-in, as there were a few things I didn't like about the car. The plastic skirts aren't very pleasant, the centre console area is a bit messy, and I think that the steering wheel stalks are a bit complicated and some of the buttons quite small.
The things I really like about the car are the superb Recaro seats (the leather ones in the Sport model were particularly good), the fact that the build quality of the car is far superior to any other Renault I have driven, and that the cars were driven really hard all day and nothing fell off and no rattles were heard - hopefully this will be the car that bucks the trend of the usual poor residuals of Renaults.
So would I part with my own money to buy one? Probably - if I could get a sizeable discount...