More power and track bias for ultimate Megane RS

Published: 05 October 2006

Renaultsport is unleashing its most honed Megane yet – the catchily named 230 F1 Team R26.

The £19,750 hot hatch is based on the track-focused 225 Cup edition, but with power bumped to 230bhp, tauter suspension and a limited slip differential to boost traction. A rasping sports exhaust and ECU tweaks boost the 2.0-litre turbo engine’s power from 225 to 230bhp. Peak torque also climbs by 7lb ft, but the extra grunt is enough to slice a tenth off the car’s 0-62mph time, reducing it to 6.2sec. While power climbs, CO2 emissions fall to 200g/km, dropping the R26 two company car tax bands. And in another cash saving measure, the R26 falls into the same group 17 insurance bracket as the 225 Cup.

Renaultsport has also fettled the chassis. The springs are stiffer, and damper travel increased to make handling more fluid on bumpy surfaces. The big news is a limited slip diff, to boost traction. Uprated Brembo brakes with four-pot calipers are required to rein in the R26. F1 decals on the bumpers, doors and roof mark out the R26, along with this optional liquid yellow paintjob. Recaro seats and a numbered plaque are among the cabin highlights. The car is available to order now, with deliveries expected in December.

By Phil McNamara

Group editor-in-chief of CAR magazine