RE: Renault Megane R.S: Generation Game

RE: Renault Megane R.S: Generation Game

Tuesday 30th January

Renault Megane R.S: Generation Game

As we countdown to the latest version of Renault Sport's Megane, we survey the back catalogue



We've driven the new Renault Megane R.S. - but can't tell you about it until tomorrow morning. Whether it's good or not though, there's no questioning the job that will need to have been done to guarantee it a place in the Dieppe hall of fame. No disrespect to its rivals, but Renault Sport is to front-drive cars what the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works is to spy planes. Much that it has touched in the last 20 years has turned to gold - and many of the most memorable variants came with a Megane badge on the boot.

As ever, a good number of these are for sale in the classifieds. We've curated a selection to suit every budget - and walk you through the timeline of Renault's benchmark hot hatch.


Renault Sport Megane dCI 175 - £3,950
Madness to start here? Not a bit of it. The idea of a diesel Renault Sport might be as obsolete today as a shirt from C&A, but a figure no less senior than Renault Sport's performance engineering boss, Fabian Berthomieu, told PH that the old oil burner was one of his personal favourites. The source of its likability isn't hard to fathom: alongside 175hp, you got 265lb ft of torque from 2,000rpm and (unlike other diesel Meganes) the 2.0-litre lump came with balancer shafts to make a smoother job of revving out. It also got Dieppe's double-axis front suspension to eradicate torque steer, and, with the optional Cup chassis, unique spring and damper settings and fully switchable ESP. Our seller doesn't mention suspension specifically here, but confirms that 40+mpg is achievable - a distinction you won't find anywhere else on this list.


Renault Sport Megane F1 Team R26 - £6,500
It is instructive now to remember that the second generation of Megane was not hot hatch royalty from the start. The 225 version was okay - better in Cup format - but the model didn't really excel until 2006, when Renault launched the R26 to commemorate its triumph in Formula 1 the year before. A sports exhaust accounted for the modest increase in power, but it was the combination of a Cup chassis with a limited-slip differential which proved to be the car's making. Three years later, Dieppe famously stripped 123kg from the car, fitted new springs and Toyo Proxes and took a serious chunk out of the front-drive Nurburgring lap record. Having struggled to sell initially, the R26.R is now collector-grade expensive; the standard R26 though can be had on PH in decent looking nick for under £7k.


Renault Sport Megane 265 Cup - £10,997
For awhile the third generation RS model came with 250hp, and (again, in LSD-sporting Cup configuration) was very commendable. Nevertheless, it's worth seeking out the post 2012 cars, which received the 15hp upgrade that Dieppe originally delivered to the Trophy badged model in 2011. While modest, the increase in the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine's output proved to be its making: delivering a flat six second 0-62mph time, but also the kind of free-revving performance that made you wonder if the (unfortunately named) F4Rt unit really had forced induction to thank for its power band. Renault went on to make the Megane prettier and nicer to interact with, but for just shy of £11k in this case, all the vital ingredients are already onboard.


Renault Sport Megane 275 Cup-S - £17,497
This was the last iteration of the outgoing Megane sold in the UK, and while Renault stuffed the option list with endless and expensive possibilities, the base car was already nigh on perfect. And that's what you get here: a sprinkling of necessities (Bluetooth, manual air conditioning, cruise control, an alarm) with a blemish-free chassis underneath and a rousing petrol engine to the front. The latter was delivered in its most energetic format, but really it's all about integration - the car just worked brilliantly at being a practical, affordable and deeply thrilling hot hatch. Moreover, as far as the C segment is concerned, it might just qualify as the last properly analogue one to ever be made. Certainly it is the best, and yours for less than £18k.


Renault Sport Megane 275 Trophy - £22,995
Of course, if you must have the bragging right too, there's only one version to go for. The final third generation Trophy was cooked up in 2014, and in R format, retook the Nurburgring front-drive production record from the Seat Leon Cupra. The R accomplished this featin much the same way as the R26.R had five years earlier: by stripping 101kg (mostly from the interior) and lavishing money on expensive components for the chassis. As with its forbear, rare examples of the flyweight model go for silly money now - but it isn't necessarily the Trophy to recommend. The R-less version is much better value, especially if you can find one like this which has had all the trick bits stuck on. Thus you get the Akrapovic titanium exhaust, Ohlin dampers and the Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tyres in a car which retains its infotainment system, air conditioning and back seats. In the long run, you'll be wanting all those items regardless of the weight penalty. And it's the best part of £10k cheaper than the one we'll tell you about tomorrow.

Author
Discussion

GibsonSG

Original Poster:

147 posts

43 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
Nice summary in preparation for the newcomer. I love my Cup-S, it’s a real grower and surprisingly gritty and analogue for a modern car. It makes for an interesting companion for the c.25k miles a year I do in it!

WCZ

5,500 posts

126 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
good cars but in my mind always in the shadow of the rs clios as they just didn't feel nimble and felt huge
there's a nice selection of used cars there and the trophy looks good value (I bet many people bought them because of the r26r had such good depreciation)

nigelonich

952 posts

152 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
The Renault brand may not be up there with the likes of BMW and Porsche but fair play to them as they are leading (IMHO) the 'M' or GT sector for the hot hatch. Yes VW jumped in with the recent Golf and Honda with the Civic Type R's but the Renaultsport Megane has provided an affordable route to a daily which can provide an awesome track day car.

I wonder if Porsche will make a hot hatch.....


nickfrog

8,937 posts

149 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
That non-R Trophy seems quite expensive as it's identical to a Cup-S but older and out of original warranty. On the other hand it's quite rare, it's yellow and it's got stripes.

Regiment

2,651 posts

91 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
My old 250Cup is by far the best drivers car I’ve ever driven, just lacked the big V8 under the bonnet smile. Would definitely consider another third generation, still not sure on the looks of the fourth generation but might see if I can take a quick, sneaky test drive in one.
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charltjr

3,320 posts

127 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
nickfrog said:
That non-R Trophy seems quite expensive as it's identical to a Cup-S but older and out of original warranty. On the other hand it's quite rare, it's yellow and it's got stripes.
There's probably an element of K-Tec tax there, but the Ohlins are very, very desirable and quite hard to find outside of the Trophy plus it has the bucket seats. That Cup-S doesn't have either of them. A Cup-S with the Ohlins and seats is usually still a good bit cheaper than the Trophy, if you can find one that is.

Krikkit

12,702 posts

113 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
Putting the diesel instead of a 225 Trophy seems like utter madness PH.

Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the new one though.

Frimley111R

8,856 posts

166 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
Krikkit said:
Putting the diesel instead of a 225 Trophy seems like utter madness PH.

Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the new one though.
+1

Itsallicanafford

1,842 posts

91 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
Our 275 Cup-s with Recaros, Ohlins, Akropovic and Alcantara pack...





...with the cup chassis and Ohlins, quite simply, its an absolutely fantastic hot hatch (IMO, one of the all time great hot hatches), the new car will need to be extraordinary to be better handling car

spodrod

199 posts

82 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
Frimley111R said:
+1
Adds a bit of variety.... I had one of these as a replacement for my 172 Cup when my commute went from long to outrageously long. Mine was the Cup (this one isnt) and handled really well. The car itself was excellent, but the reliability was chronic; mind you I think mine was a particularly bad example. Not my finest purchasing hour.

loose cannon

4,952 posts

173 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
I’ve had my 250 ff from new it’s well over 100 thousand miles now and has been the most reliable car I have ever owned,
It still looks like it’s only done 50 thou and is just a little darling I can’t say enough about it tbh
I hope the new car is good it’s got a lot to live up to to tempt me out of my existing one

Mike1990

558 posts

63 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
Can’t wait to hear PH’s and Evo Magazines thoughts tomorrow on the new one. Eagerly waiting smile

But i just can’t see it being ‘better’ as say a 275 Cup-S/Trophy with all the goodies. How do you perfect perfection ? If that makes sense lol.

culpz

3,893 posts

44 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
WCZ said:
good cars but in my mind always in the shadow of the rs clios as they just didn't feel nimble and felt huge
there's a nice selection of used cars there and the trophy looks good value (I bet many people bought them because of the r26r had such good depreciation)
I'd probably agree with you there. From the 250 iteration onwards, the Megane became a really capable and surprisingly reliable car from it's predecessor. However, they are quite big cars. The 225's are quite a decent size but did have their fair share of issues. However, Ben Lowden on here, did say how surprisingly nimble his new 250 feels.

I've always preferred the Clio's over the Megane's, due to their simplicity, size and that they're fairly cheap to maintain/run in comparison. You could say that's changed with the MK4 but that's simply the way with hot-hatches these days. I'm looking forward to hopefully buying my own 172/182 in the next few months.

parabolica

4,536 posts

116 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
Love the R26; sorely tempted to consider one when I next change my car.

Alex_6n2

163 posts

131 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
culpz said:
I'd probably agree with you there. From the 250 iteration onwards, the Megane became a really capable and surprisingly reliable car from it's predecessor. However, they are quite big cars. The 225's are quite a decent size but did have their fair share of issues. However, Ben Lowden on here, did say how surprisingly nimble his new 250 feels.

I've always preferred the Clio's over the Megane's, due to their simplicity, size and that they're fairly cheap to maintain/run in comparison. You could say that's changed with the MK4 but that's simply the way with hot-hatches these days. I'm looking forward to hopefully buying my own 172/182 in the next few months.
I went from a Clio 182 to a Megane 275 and I assure you the Clio was far more troublesome and expensive to maintain! For example the Brembos are so widely used that brake pads/discs are cheaper. The Clio was worse on fuel economy too.

I can't say I notice a great deal of size difference when driving either, but the extra space inside is definitely a blessing.

The Meg walks all over a standard Clio in the twisty stuff too. Much more mobile rear end (you need a rear ARB in the Clio to fix this) and WAY more capable through quick bends

M1C

1,045 posts

43 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
Itsallicanafford said:
Our 275 Cup-s with Recaros, Ohlins, Akropovic and Alcantara pack...





...with the cup chassis and Ohlins, quite simply, its an absolutely fantastic hot hatch (IMO, one of the all time great hot hatches), the new car will need to be extraordinary to be better handling car
I really like that.


But i like the car behind more.......

culpz

3,893 posts

44 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
Alex_6n2 said:
culpz said:
I'd probably agree with you there. From the 250 iteration onwards, the Megane became a really capable and surprisingly reliable car from it's predecessor. However, they are quite big cars. The 225's are quite a decent size but did have their fair share of issues. However, Ben Lowden on here, did say how surprisingly nimble his new 250 feels.

I've always preferred the Clio's over the Megane's, due to their simplicity, size and that they're fairly cheap to maintain/run in comparison. You could say that's changed with the MK4 but that's simply the way with hot-hatches these days. I'm looking forward to hopefully buying my own 172/182 in the next few months.
I went from a Clio 182 to a Megane 275 and I assure you the Clio was far more troublesome and expensive to maintain! For example the Brembos are so widely used that brake pads/discs are cheaper. The Clio was worse on fuel economy too.
Well that's hardly surprising now, is it, considering that your 182 was a 13 year old car and you've now jumped in a brand new 2018 275? Even with the depreciation to consider, which isn't going to potentially bite you until the end of your ownership anyway.

Itsallicanafford

1,842 posts

91 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
M1C said:
Itsallicanafford said:
Our 275 Cup-s with Recaros, Ohlins, Akropovic and Alcantara pack...





...with the cup chassis and Ohlins, quite simply, its an absolutely fantastic hot hatch (IMO, one of the all time great hot hatches), the new car will need to be extraordinary to be better handling car
I really like that.


But i like the car behind more.......
Ha! Yes there was about a 2 month overlap between getting the Cup-S before the Rallye was sold....really enjoyed my 2 years with the 106 but it pretty much ruined me to keep it on the road + i had convinced myself that i was going to have a minor crash in it and be killed...

Alex_6n2

163 posts

131 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
culpz said:
Well that's hardly surprising now, is it, considering that your 182 was a 13 year old car and you've now jumped in a brand new 2018 275? Even with the depreciation to consider, which isn't going to potentially bite you until the end of your ownership anyway.
Age makes little or no difference to the Megane being cheaper on fuel and consumables

I wasn't being specific about my car, broadly speaking the entire MK3 RSMegane range is more reliable than the MK3 RSClio from what I've seen.

Having owned both and been part of both ownership communities, I'm just trying to share my experience with you rolleyes

Krikkit

12,702 posts

113 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
Itsallicanafford said:
Ha! Yes there was about a 2 month overlap between getting the Cup-S before the Rallye was sold....really enjoyed my 2 years with the 106 but it pretty much ruined me to keep it on the road + i had convinced myself that i was going to have a minor crash in it and be killed...
It won't make you feel any better, but I had a medium-sized shunt in mine and lived without being killed to death. Sadly it didn't make it though.