Owning a Renaultsport isn’t always as glamourous as it looks. I’ve had eight of them, so I should know. I doubt you need me to tell you that French cars have a bit of a reputation for being unreliable either. Ironically, the six Renaultsports I’ve owned prior to GJ65 BYO have been the most dependable cars I’ve ever owned. So obviously it was time for a change.
I doubt there’s a single buying guide on PH without a few warnings for common problems and things to look out for when buying anything built across the channel; it’s just that the Renaultsport Megane 275 might have a slightly longer list than normal, and not all of them are cheap to fix. I bought my car with an open mind, and on the assumption that there would be a few things that would need sorting along the way. As it happens, almost all the things listed have cropped up in my 21 months of ownership.
The leaking rocker cover gasket was a lucky catch early on thanks to an early belt change at five years instead of six, which might have been otherwise catastrophic for the engine. The other biggy that I’d prepared for was a gearbox rebuild, which seems to be a trait in the 275-variant due to Renault changing to different bearings towards the end of the product lifecycle. Lord knows why.
Consequently, once the age-old trick of trying to ignore a strange noise or turning the music up to drown it out stopped working, I finally caved and swung by AW Motorworks in Essex to get it checked out. It didn’t take Alex long to confirm something wasn’t right, so we swiftly booked it in for a quoted £1,200 for the gearbox rebuild including removal and refitting.
Even though my car had only covered 39k miles, I figured while the ‘box was off I may as well get a new clutch kit and flywheel fitted. They found minor oil and coolant leaks along with a weeping clutch damper (another common failure) too. So, with a handful of new parts I hadn’t really planned for - on top of having my front Brembo calipers rebuilt - the final bill ended up a grand more than the original quote.
Thankfully, the service at AW Motorworks was outstanding and I’d thoroughly recommend them to any fellow Renaultsport owners – everything was done in-house; I was kept informed every step of the way and GJ65 BYO is driving beautifully again without any unwanted noises. On top of all the above, since buying the car is September 2020, I’ve replaced discs and pads all round and a pair of tyres, taking my total expenditure including servicing but excluding modifications, to £4,297 in just under two years. And sure, I could’ve cut some corners here or there, but I’m a peace-of-mind kinda guy.
Nevertheless, it does reinforce the idea that while Renaultsport Meganes are relatively affordable cars to buy, there is a tendency for the running costs to be higher than a lot of people expect. Which is likely why they change hands so often, rather than owners being disappointed with the way they drive. Because how can you be? Despite the cost, I still look at it like a puppy that has just chewed your favourite shoes. You can’t help but love the thing.
Every time I drive GJ65 BYO on a clear B-road it reminds me why I bought it, and despite what might be quite a shocking cost of ownership to some for a six-year-old French hatchback, it has been totally worth it to me. And seeing MDifficult’s cost of ownership for his F10 M5 shortly after the rebuild made me feel a bit better. Let’s just hope the next two years are a little less expensive, especially after my acquisition of the Megane’s older brother with a long shopping list in hand.
Car: 2015 Renault Sport Megane 275 Cup-S
Run by: Ben Lowden
On fleet since: September 2020
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