RENAULT SPORT MEGANE 275 TROPHY
At $52,990, the Renault Sport 275 Trophy is about $30,000 more expensive than the standard Megane. That doesn’t sound like great value, but the 275 Trophy is not your average three-door hatch. It has fantastic leather/alcantara race seats, satnav, a 7-inch touch screen and dual-zone aircon. Sporty touches include black 19-inch alloy wheels, a titanium sports exhaust, Brembo brakes and a suede steering wheel. There is a generous five-year/unlimited km warranty and capped servicing is $1196 for three services.
The Megane is a good looking car, especially as a three-door hatch and the Trophy is even smarter, although the yellow and graphics might be too much for some. Inside there are brilliant wrap-around seats, a rally steering wheel and faux carbon fibre on the dash. There is reasonable room in the rear, but getting in can be awkward as the Megane has only two doors.
A version of the 275 Trophy recently set the fastest front-drive time around Germany’s Nurburgring, so it is no slouch. Its pace comes from its engine, the handling package and relatively low weight of 1376kg. The 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder makes 201kW/360Nm (in RS mode). It manages a 0100km/h time of 6 seconds, but it feels faster than that. The only gearbox is a six-speed manual.
Six airbags, a reversing camera and a five-star crash rating but no advanced driver aids.
The 275 Trophy is not as fast as the STI, but that doesn’t mean it is less fun to drive. It makes you feel like you are driving fast, even when you are doing sensible speeds, thanks to wonderful steering and a precise gearbox. The engine is not as explosive as the Subaru but is fun to rev out and lets out a brilliant howl.