First Fang: Renault Megane RS275 Trophy

Latest in a long line of special editions, the RS275 Trophy garnishes the R.S Megane with a few special bits to intensify its hot-hatch experience.

THE DAMAGE: $52,990

VITALS: 2.0-litre turbocharged four, 201kW/360Nm, 6.0sec to 100km/h, front-drive, 1376kg

THE ’RING KING… OR, ERM, PRINCE

To clarify things, this is not the ‘Trophy-R’ limited edition Dieppe built to commemorate its 7:54.36 lap time round the ’Ring.

Rather, the RS275 Trophy channels the R’s performance vibe but in a watered-down package.

Inside the recently face-lifted body there are a few special items, like deeply bucketed Recaros and a zinc-alloy gearknob, that help justify its $6000 premium over standard production RS 265 Cup Premium.

You can deduce from its name the Trophy’s copped a power hike, too. An extra 10 metric horsepower is wrung from its engine thanks to some ECU fiddling and a titanium exhaust from Akrapovic.

Finishing off the package is a set of Bridgestone RE050As in place of Continental hoops and Platinum grey hate-em-or-love-em decals draped over its hips. Australia has received an allocation of 100 units.

HORSES FOR COURSES

With the same front strut/rear torsion-beam set up found in the RS 265 under the Trophy’s bulging guards, you won’t be overly enthusiastic about commuting. Like an over-friendly cabbie the 275 won’t shut up, it’s always telling you about the road surface through the seat and steering.

However that’s not to say it can’t cope with the suburbs. Its direct front-end makes it a delight to thread though heavy traffic and if you’ve ever endured a track car day-to-day you’ll find its ride liveable.

Clear the city though and the 275 finds its element. Aim its bulbous nose at a winding road, prod the Renault Sport mode button next to the steering column and the Trophy hardens with focus.

The computer has now unleashed an extra 18kW, or the full 201kW, programmed more exhaust bark on overrun and weighted up the steering. And thanks to the brilliant seating position that sits you deep in the Megane’s cabin, you’re already in the same mood.

Turn in to a bend, wait until the outside front tyre is loaded up, stomp the throttle then let the RS’s mechanical LSD and tricky steering hub set-up lunge you down the road.

Snick the next gear, wait for a distinctive burp from the exhaust, ride the meaty 360Nm surge to the next turn and repeat – the Trophy simply devours corners.

BUT IT’S WORTH IT

If you’ve driven any third-generation RS Megane you would know largely what the Trophy is like.

On one hand it’s a focused and potentially exhausting machine. Its personality – constituted by its stiff suspension, heavily bolstered seats and eager drivetrain – doesn’t have a soft side.

But those ails are easily forgotten anywhere the road starts to curve. Its ferocious appetite for speed is addictive and is only enhanced by the Trophy’s crackling titanium exhaust and moulded Recaro seats.  

At $52,990 there still are only a few cars that could keep with the RS275 Trophy on a mountain road, however none would make it such an event.

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