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...
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.
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.
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...
Car: Renaultsport Megane 265 Cup
Run by: Alex (and Dan when circumstances allow)
On fleet since: December 2012
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!