Renault Megane R.S. (2018) Review
Renault Megane R.S. (2018) At A Glance
Insurance Group 28
On average it achieves 86% of the official MPG figure
The latest Renault Megane R.S. has refocused its talents compared to its immediate predecessor. Where the older Megane hot hatch revelled in being perhaps the most hardcore if its type, the current car is a more rounded offering. For starters, it only comes as a five-door hatch to make it more practical and there’s an entry-point 280PS model that’s quick without being harsh or only really suitable for tracks days. Of course, there’s the more potent 300PS Trophy for those who want a rawer experience, but even this is still not as in-yer-face as a Honda Civic Type R.
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The Megane Renaultsport's mantle has slipped over the years with no shortage of competition from the likes of the Honda Civic Type R and Ford Focus RS.
So Renault is hoping this latest Megane R.S. will put the performance version of its family hatch firmly back on the radar of buyers who have been swayed by rival makes.
With that in mind, Renault has upped the ante by giving this Megane R.S. a new engine, more tech and improved performance, but all in a versatile package that's a comfortable every day car.
So now the Megane R.S. is a five-door only and retains the same practicality as the standard Megane hatch - a car we really like. But there are some big changes under the skin. For starters, there's a new engine. This 1.8-litre turbocharged unit has 280PS while the Trophy version boosts this to 300PS.
Renault has also fitted 4Control - an intriguing new four-wheel steer system designed to increase agility in tight corners and better stability at higher speeds. As before there's the standard Cup chassis or the more hardcore Cup chassis which is 10 per cent stiffer.
It seems Renault has learnt its lesson from the automatic-only Clio R.S and offers the Megane R.S. with a standard manual - and a very good one at that - alongside an EDC automatic as an option. For our money, we'd always go for the more involving manual.
In standard Cup trim, the Megane is still pretty firm as you'd expect of a hot hatch - but far more comfortable than you'd image. Much of that is down to a new suspension system which essentially creates what Renault describes as a 'shock absorber within the shock absorber' keeping the tyre in contact with the road for longer for better comfort.
Of course, most people will go for the R.S. Trophy model which has much stiffer (although not lower) suspension and as a result a ride that's even firmer than a Hyundai i30N or a Civic Type R. However, it does have more spec and a limited slip differential for better traction.
Both versions handle superbly well as you'd expect and there's a lot to be said for the standard 280PS model which we think offers more than enough everyday performance. The steering is responsive and has lots of feel, while the R.S. certainly sounds the part with a lovely deep burble from the exhaust.
The Megane R.S is certainly back with a bang, making this one of the best hot hatches on the market. Would we choose it over the Focus RS? Not quite, but it has lots of appeal nonetheless and is a car guaranteed always to put a smile on your face.