Over roads in Yorkshire akin to our roads I recently had the opportunity to take the wheel of the most powerful production Renault Sport to date, the Megane RS 300 Trophy.
A car for road and track, and it would take a few laps of Mondello Park or Kirkistown to explore its performance potential. My test example, which I tried at the SMMT Test Day North, had the manual transmission delivering a top speed of 260kph (162mph), a whisker faster than the automatic version. Rest to 100kph (62mph) comes up in under six seconds. The new model features a variety of advanced technology that enhances its performance and brings a new look to the top end of the Megane R.S. range.
This fast lane contender from Renault celebrates 15 years of the Megane R.S. line and builds on the advanced technology in the R.S. 280. This includes the clever 4CONTROL four-wheel steering system, which brings high speed stability as well as enhanced cornering agility, and the hydraulic bump stop shock absorbers that increase tyre contact with the road surface. Take it from me, this Renault handles like a competition car with extremely high levels of grip. The technology is developed further with the power output of the new 1.8-litre engine increased to 300bhp and torque increased to 420Nm. The increased power delivers better acceleration, whilst the torque, one of the best in class, contributes to driving pleasure and comfort behind the wheel. These improved performances comply with the new emission control standard; Euro6d-Temp which came into force last September. In order to offset the substantial increase in exhaust back pressure, related to the addition of a particulate filter, Renault Sport engineers concentrated in particular on the efficiency of the turbocharger by deploying a technology taken directly from Formula 1. In addition to the turbo, the new exhaust system is the second area in which engine performance has been improved and the rear silencer has been fitted with a mechanical valve that enables engine noise to be adjusted. Once again, this is a first in the R.S. range.
The performance can be adjusted by pressing the ‘Multi-Sense’ button, which gives the driver the option of five different performance modes ranging from Comfort and Normal to Sport and Race, with a ‘Perso’ personalised set-up. The position of the valve, automatically controlled according to the Multi-Sense mode selected, provides two tones: Pioneering technologies can be found in the turbocharger and exhaust system. Sharp handling is guaranteed with the Cup chassis, which is an option on the standard R.S and includes a stiffer suspension set-up and a Torsen mechanical limited slip differential. Braking performance is upgraded with bi-material front brake discs. With all that power at the command of the right foot stopping power is paramount.
You will not fail to recognise this Renault thanks to its lightweight 19-inch ‘Jerez’ alloy wheels and the Trophy stripes on the F1-inspired front spoiler. Returning to the transmission like Megane R.S., the Trophy version is available with two types of six-speed gearbox: manual or EDC with steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles. In the R.S. 280 torque is 390Nm in both manual and automatic EDC, whereas in the R.S. 300 Trophy this is increased to 400Nm (manual) and with the EDC automatic gearbox maximum torque is now 420Nm thanks to the specific mapping used. The EDC gearbox also has revised shift patterns compared to that of the R.S. 280 EDC. Instantly recognisable thanks to its exclusive alloy wheels, the R.S. 300 Trophy comes fitted with 245/35 Bridgestone Potenza S001 tyres, which are renowned for offering a high level of grip.
Okay performance is all very well, how about comfort? The R.S. 300 Trophy may be fitted with optional new Recaro seats, redesigned from those fitted on Megane III R.S. The hard shell backrest and integrated headrest have been enhanced to adapt the driving position more precisely, particularly thanks to dial-controlled continuous adjustment of the recline angle. The optional Recaro seats are covered with Alcantara upholstery which are highly resistant to wear and tear, largely unaffected by temperature variations and offering a high level of support whilst being twice as light as leather, this product possesses unique properties that are perfectly-suited to the needs of performance car enthusiasts.
R.S. Monitor is a telemetry and data acquisition system that enhances the driver experience, accessible within ‘My Apps’ in the infotainment system, R.S. Monitor gathers and summarises information from forty or so sensors spread around the car. It is therefore possible to display a wide range of vehicle settings in real time on the R-LINK 2 touch screen tablet: acceleration, braking, steering wheel angle, operation of the 4CONTROL system, temperatures and pressures etc. R.S. Monitor Expert lets you film their progress behind the wheel and then overlay telemetry data, in order to obtain superb augmented reality videos. The driver experience and can be instantly shared on social media using applications available for iOS and Android smartphones. The multi-reflector LED lighting system R.S. Vision comes as standard on R.S. models. These chequered flag design lights are integrated in the front bumper, either side of the F1-style blade. Unique in this market segment, R.S. Vision meets the need for powerful, efficient lighting, in line with the other features offered by the R.S line. In addition to the features listed the R.S. 300 Trophy include rear parking sensors, a seven-inch touch screen with European mapping, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, a handsfree keycard with automatic locking and welcome function, heated electric door mirrors, Hill Start Assist, ESC and ABS.