Renault’s RS version of its Golf-rivaling Mégane hatchback is already one of the fastest front-wheel-drive cars in production, but a more hardcore version with extra power and fewer pounds has been revealed.
The car is the Mégane RS Trophy, and it comes with a 1.8-liter turbocharged inline-4 good for 296 horsepower and 310 pound-feet (295 with manual transmission) of torque. In comparison, the regular Mégane RS makes do with 275 hp and 287 lb-ft from the same engine.
The improvement is mainly due to the addition of a new turbocharger with ceramic ball bearings to enhance response and efficiency. Also helping is a less restrictive, adjustable exhaust. Thanks to a valve system, the exhaust becomes louder when the vehicle’s driving modes selector is in its more performance-oriented settings.
Sure the increase in power and torque may not be all that much, but the Trophy benefits from a slew of other upgrades to give it the edge over its sibling. Renault also got its Formula 1 driver Nico Hülkenberg to help out with the fine-tuning.
“Each of the new features on new Renault Mégane RS Trophy offers greater sports performance and feel,” he said in a statement. “It’s obviously positive to have more power and better grip through the tires and to benefit from improved braking endurance.”
Drive is to the front wheels but four-wheel steering, a sophisticated suspension setup (25 percent firmer shock absorbers, 30 percent tighter springs and 10 percent stiffer anti-roll bars) and a Torsen limited-slip differential help to get the power down. Buyers will be able to select from a six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch transmission. They’ll also have the choice of a 19-inch lightweight wheel design that can shave 17 pounds from the curb weight.
Inside, there are Recaro bucket seats fitted as standard. They are lined in Alcantara and positioned lower in the cabin to add to the sporty feel. Renault says the 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.
With all the added performance, don’t be surprised if Renault will be out targeting the Nürburgring record for front-wheel-drive cars shortly. The car’s predecessor lapped the ‘Ring in 7:54.36 in 2014 to achieve the record, but the time to beat as of today is 7:43.8—achieved by Honda’s 2017 Civic Type R last year.
The Mégane RS Trophy starts deliveries in markets where Renaults are sold this winter, which means the United States still misses out.