It's easy to forget how influential we can be at PH. As marketing manager, I'm no journalist, but I've lost count of the amount of people who've taken the time to let me know they've bought a Renaultsport of some description after reading my ramblings. As someone who just writes about what he loves, it's a humbling reminder of our duty to all of you, even if I'm no Matt Bird.
It's not just the outside world we impact, though; not a week goes by without someone on the team suggesting a new car to buy, or we'll argue over each other's choices for Six of the Best. It has been more than five years since I was strongarmed by James Drake and Dan Trent into giving in and trying my first Renault and I've never looked back. Especially as I'd otherwise still be driving around in an Audi TT; ironically given my prejudices, too, the Renaults have all been the most reliable cars I've ever owned.
Admittedly I've lusted after a Renaultsport Megane 275 Cup-S since we first saw the press release just about five years ago. Then Dan went and did his thing again and invited me along on a twin test with the FK2 Civic Type R and I was utterly besotted. I came so close to pulling the trigger on buying one new, but I got cold feet and pulled out when even I couldn't convince myself with the man maths.
But here we are, five years on from first seeing the Megane 275 Cup-S in Flame Red and I've finally bought one. I've had six Renaultsports since 2015, but this has always been the holy grail that I've been working towards. It may not be the Subaru Impreza I dreamt of buying since I was a small boy, but something that has felt like an attainable dream for the past five years kept me awake with excitement the night before collection day.
What makes this one even more special is that I tried and failed to buy it when it was for sale at my local Renault dealership - it had already sold by the time I got there. Since then, it has been owned by PHer macky17 (who now drives an FK8 Civic Type R - a man of good taste) and latterly mc5, who I bought it from when he replaced it with a Cayman. I couldn't believe my luck when he tentatively listed the car for sale and I recognised the number plate instantly. It took some serious arm twisting for him to let it go but, after a month of negotiating, we struck a deal.
So, what have I actually bought? GJ65 BYO is one of the last Mk3 Renaultsport Meganes made. The Cup-S was launched in 2015 as part of a run-out range refresh, paring back options and offering a big price reduction; the Cup-S cost just £23,935 without options. The 275 Trophy that was on sale in 2014 cost £28,930, as a point of reference. The Cup-S was made just for us in the UK (see the Union Jack) and Renault only sold 130, 41 of them being Flame Red, which was the most popular paint option despite being a new colour at the time. Pretty rare then.
The Cup-S replaced the 265 Cup and, as hinted by the name, retained the Cup chassis (firmer springs, dampers and anti-roll bars) as well as the mechanical limited-slip differential and four-pot red Brembo brake calipers up front. Essentially all of the upgrades that were on the 275 Trophy were made available as options for the Cup-S, but with a much lower starting price. Power increased (over the 265) by 10hp to 275hp from the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine.
Luckily for me, this car has the kitchen sink Cup-S spec: £8,920 worth of options in total, giving it a list price of £32,855 new. Probably a good thing I didn't attempt to buy one new after all... My car was treated to Flame Red paint, Ohlins adjustable dampers, 19-inch 'Steev' Speedline alloy wheels (compulsory for the Ohlins), the Akrapovic titanium exhaust system, full leather Recaro seats, Alcantara trim, R-Link with RS Monitor and the climate pack. Fun fact, too: The 'STEEV' alloys were named after Steve Marvin, who was the Chief Engineer on R.S. at the time.
Much like my Megane 250, this car will be no garage queen and will see plenty of road trips and track days. And with no commute for the foreseeable future, its sole purpose for the remainder of 2020 is entertainment. Which is a luxury, I know, but I couldn't wait any longer; it honestly felt like fate to be able to buy this car. I'm excited to report back again soon, but for now, I'm off for another drive...
Car: 2015 Renaultsport Megane 275 Cup-S
Run by: Ben Lowden
On fleet since: September 2020
Last month at a glance: After five years of waiting, Ben lands his dream Renaultsport
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