The Gallic car gallops from rest to 100km/h in a claimed 5.7 seconds. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Gallic car gallops from rest to 100km/h in a claimed 5.7 seconds. Picture: SUPPLIED

The good news is that Renault’s fire-spitting hot hatch, the Megane RS 300 Trophy, has been launched in SA.

The bad news is that it costs R774,900 in manual format and R799,900 in EDC dual-clutch automatic. And the worst news, if you want one of these cars, is that only seven units of the French low-flyer are coming to SA. If you’re interested, better hurry and order one.

The Megane RS 300 Trophy is Renault’s answer to hot hatches like the Honda Civic Type R, VW Golf R and Hyundai i30N. It’s the most hardcore and track-focussed version of Renault’s RS range which until now has been available in milder RS 280 models.

This range-topping RS packs 221kW of power which equates to 300hp in the old-speak and is what the car’s badge refers to. The power is the same in both the manual and auto, but the two-pedalled version makes more torque at 420Nm, with the three-pedalled car making do with 400Nm.

Either way, that’s a lot of muscle from a 1.8l four-cylinder engine and the auto’s 420Nm out-guns the torque of the Golf, Civic and Hyundai which all have 2.0l engines.

The turbocharged engine feeds the front wheels with the assistance of a limited-slip differential that improves cornering traction and reduces torque steer.

Aiding and abetting the high-performance thrills is a 4Control four-wheel steering system which enables a smaller turning radius, better stability and a quicker steering response.

Shapely Recaro bucket seats offer great support when chasing laptimes. Picture: SUPPLIED
Shapely Recaro bucket seats offer great support when chasing laptimes. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Gallic galloper rides on a Cup chassis with stiffened suspension, and has hydraulic compression stops designed to increase performance while retaining reasonable ride comfort. Lightened, high-performance front brakes have bi-material discs for better endurance and red Brembo brake callipers.

A distinctive design leaves one in no doubt that this is Megane’s sporting model, with its F1-style splitter and rear diffuser, and flamboyant 19-inch wheels with red highlights.

The racy theme continues in the cabin with Alcantara-covered Recaro bucket seats, Alcantara steering wheel, aluminium gear lever knob and red stitching on the upholstery.

An RS Monitor keeps the driver informed of engine performance and telemetry while chasing laptimes.

Drivers can select Comfort, Neutral, Sport and Race modes to change the car’s driving character and change the note of the valve-actuated exhausts.

The EDC derivative has launch control but both versions are claimed to scoot from 0-100km/h in the same 5.7 seconds. The manual has a slight top speed advantage, at 260km/h versus the auto’s 255km/h.

As befits a range-topping car, the RS 300 Trophy is packed with toys including a touchscreen infotainment system, navigation, dual zone climate control, cruise control with speed limiter, a key card for keyless entry and automatic lights and wipers.

Prices include a five-year/150,000km warranty and five-year/ 90,000km service plan.

RENAULT MEGANE RS 300 TROPHY VS RIVALS

BMW M135i xDrive 2.0 turbo auto, 225kW/450Nm — R773,788

Hyundai i30N 2.0 turbo manual, 202kW/353Nm — R679,900

Honda Civic Type R 2.0 turbo manual, 228kW/400Nm — R741,900

Mercedes-AMG A35 2.0 turbo auto, 225kW/400Nm — R815,000

VW Golf R 2.0 turbo auto, 228kW/400Nm — R708,900