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How much? £27,820
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 1998cc 16v 4cyl turbo, 261bhp @ 5500rpm, 265lb ft @ 3000-5000rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 6.0sec 0-62mph, 158mph, 34mpg, 190/km CO2
How heavy / made of? 1387kg/steel
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 4299/1848/1435
Need to know

CAR's rating

Rated 5 out of 55

Handling

Rated 5 out of 55

Performance

Rated 5 out of 55

Usability

Rated 4 out of 54

Feelgood factor

Rated 4 out of 54

Readers' rating

Rated 3 out of 53

Renaultsport Megane 265 Trophy (2011) CAR review

By Chris Chilton

First Drives

11 July 2011 12:00

Renault’s new Megane RS 265 Trophy recently smashed the Nurburgring lap record for front-wheel drive cars. But does that translate into more on-road fun? Read on for our first drive of the new Renaultsport Megane 265 Trophy to find out...

I didn’t even know there was a lap record for FWD cars. It’s a bit like hearing that Blackburn reserves beat Man U’s B-team 1-0 in a friendly. So what time did it set?

The 265 rounded the Nordschleife circuit in 8min 8sec, beating the previous record – held by the stripped ou,t old-shape Megane R26R – by 9sec. To put that in context, a Porsche Cayman takes around 8min 04sec to complete a lap, while a 911 GT3 4.0 can do it in 7min 27sec.

I’m impressed. So what’s the secret ingredient?

Well unlike previous Trophy-badged Renaults, the 265 doesn’t have any trick suspension components over and above the standard Cup-chassis’d, LSD-equipped car on which it’s based. Except for a very sticky set of Bridgestone Potenzas, that is. They don’t look that trick, not like the old R26R’s optional Toyo track day shoes or a Michelin Pilot Cup Sport tyre. And they don’t need bone-dry roads to work properly. These things are incredible whatever the road surface, working together with the Cup’s limited slip differential and subtle ESP system to deliver phenomenal cornering performance. That’s cornering as in grip through the corner and traction on the way out. The regular Cup is superb, but the 265 is definitely better.

No chassis mods? What about the engine?

That’s where the 265 bit comes in. That’s the power in metric horsepower, which equates to 261bhp, up from 247bhp in the standard car thanks to a revised intake system and turbo boost increase from 2.3bar to 2.5bar. A modest 14bhp gain is way short of the 300bhp some mags were speculating the Trophy would have. The 0-62mph sprint falls just 0.1sec to 6sec dead, and the top speed creeps up a measly 2mph to 158mph. But you can feel the difference. It sounds angrier and pulls harder than the standard car, the wheel jiggling in your hands under hard acceleration in the lower gears but never enough to becoming full-blown, lane changing torque steer like it does in the Focus RS.

Any downsides?

Well it still feels Renault-cheap inside, the rear visibility is poor, the ride is terrible and the brake and throttle pedals are slightly too far apart for heel and toeing if you’re into that stuff – which you might want to be because there’s no dual-clutch gearbox option. That’s a small list though and easy to forgive when a car is this much fun. The important point is this: if you want the most exciting hot hatch in the business, this is it.

So what’s it going to cost me?

The price is £27,820, which is £3800 more than the Cup it’s based on, but really only £450 more by the time you’ve factored in cost of equipping a Cup with the 265’s standard Recaro buckets (£1025), LED lights (£255), 19in wheels (£510), useless Renaultsport Monitor (£310) and metallic paint (£1250 for the standard-in-the-UK Liquid Yellow). On top of that there's the extra power, different tyres, and free entry to all of Renaultsport's trackday, so it ain't bad value. For reference, a posher, softer Renaultsport Megane 250 costs £25,020 or £27,220 with the Cup suspension, LSD and Recaros.

If you do want a 265 though, you better get in there quick. Just 500 will be made and only 50 of those are coming to the UK.

Verdict

The 265 is brilliant to drive, but £1200 for some different rubber and an ECU remap isn’t spectacular value. Part of Renault’s problem is that the standard Cup-chassis Megane is simply so damn good. However, if you were thinking of chucking a few options on a standard Cup or 250 anyway, you really should get your name down for a Trophy. Alternatively, check out the classifieds for a used R26R: £10k less and just as much fun.

>> Click 'Add your comment' below and let us know what you think of the new Renaultsport Megane 265 Trophy

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Renaultsport Megane 265 Trophy (2011) CAR review

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mdavis

mdavis says

Re: Renault Megane Renaultsport 265

Renault have been building supercar scarers for years, the old 5 GT turbo was doing it way back when I had hair. Well done Reggie.

07 October 2011 10:03

 

Gregg218

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Gregg218 says

RE: Renaultsport Megane 265 Trophy (2011) CAR review

They really call the colour Liquid Yellow?  Why not the more romantic-sounding but to-the-point French "Pissoir Jaune?"

15 July 2011 16:21

 

MG5Sport

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MG5Sport says

RE: Renaultsport Megane 265 Trophy (2011) CAR review

 What is life like when you get a Megane 265 Trophy? It is awesome, take the car, go for a spin, drive to the track, drive home. Great Day!

12 July 2011 23:00

 

Robby1977

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Robby1977 says

RE: Renaultsport Megane 265 Trophy (2011) CAR review

I recall the McLaren F1 was the first road car to achieve a Nurburgring 8 minute lap-time, scary stuff that a french hot hatch is now just a few seconds off that. Alos reminds of when I realised that my old 2002 172 Cup posted the same 0-60 time as an 80's Testerossa! 

Serious money for a French hot-hatch though.

11 July 2011 15:48

 

carmobster

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carmobster says

RE: Renaultsport Megane 265 Trophy (2011) CAR review

@ Chris; How is the ride on the car. I know the Cup has a very firm ride, but is it useable day-to-day?

11 July 2011 13:05

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