Renault has made no secret of the existence of a Megane R.S. Trophy. It was discussed at the launch of the Sport and Cup versions, where it was suggested that the more powerful model would not be far behind its stablemates. No kidding. While you won't be able to order one until the autumn or see it until the winter, existing owners of the right-hand drive cars might think them barely out of the box before a newer, faster and better equipped alternative becomes available.
On paper though, the Trophy's gains seem modest enough. While we knew of it previously, the bigger output - the most ever installed in an R.S. model - remains the headline. Make of 20hp what you will (the 0-62mph time drops by 0.1 second) but it does put the Megane solidly in the 300 club - neck and neck with the Volkswagen Golf R, and a good bit closer to the Honda Civic Type R. The psychological effect on buyers isn't to be underestimated, nor the lingering thought that the fourth generation Megane R.S. would actually benefit from some extra shove.
Such a slender improvement was probably not hard to coax from the still very new turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine - the trick these days is to comply with the new Euro6d-Temp emission standards once you've finished tweaking. Consequently some of the Trophy's cleverer bits are to do with offsetting the increase in exhaust back pressure created by a new particulate filter. The efficiency of the turbocharger was deemed key to success, and its turbine now spins courtesy of a ceramic ball bearings, which is harder, lighter and smoother than steel and therefore quicker to spool.
Also new is the mechanical valve located in the rear silencer. Of course that's less to do with efficiency and more about exciting your eardrums, but its appearance in the Trophy - a first for the R.S. range - is welcome following experience of the standard car's somewhat lacklustre soundtrack. Elsewhere the newcomer is unchanged: you still get a choice of a six-speed manual or paddle-equipped EDC gearbox - although it is the latter which benefits from an extra 22lb ft of torque. Manual buyers must make do with a marginal 7lb ft improvement, to 295lb ft (equalling the Civic).
Changes to the chassis are subtle, too. The Trophy gets the same basic setup as the Cup model, meaning it receives the Torsen limited slip differential along with stiffer springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. It is the brakes which are uprated (presumably with track day lapping in mind) and the bi-material 355mm front discs account for a 1.8kg reduction in unsprung mass per wheel. Furthermore, by 2019 you'll be able to get 19-inch 'Fuji' light alloy wheels which save an additional 2kg at each corner.
For now though the Trophy comes with distinctive set of 19-inch 'Jerez' rims which were inspired by the R.S.01 concept car and feature a diamond-cut finish with a red border. On the inside there's the option of new Recaro seats, which are a redesigned version of those used in the last gen Megane R.S. Detailed changes and Alcantara covers notwithstanding, it's the promise of being able to lower them an additional 20mm closer to the ground that makes them a desirable tick. There's no word yet on how much they or the car cost, although it would be folly to expect any change from £30k.Given Renault Sport's current clip, it won't be long before we find out.