If looks could kill. . .

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Motors Today - john kralevich mo­tors cor­re­spon­dent

IF you think the Re­nault Me­gane Coupé is a great­look­ing car, pre­pare for a vis­ual feast that is the maker’s sport di­vi­sion vari­ant.

Talk of stun­ning, the most eye-catch­ing Re­nault on the mar­ket, then talk of the Me­gane Re­nault­sport. Swoops and curves, edge and mus­cle, they all add up to a mas­sive wow fac­tor.

Its low coupé roofline slopes into a sculpted bon­net, and wheel arches and side skirts ex­tend, bulge if you will. Form and func­tion, a case of aero­dy­nam­ics to op­ti­mise per­for­mance.

The model on test, the Me­gane Re­nault­sport 250 is fit­ted with an F1-in­spired aero­dy­namic pack­age, in­clud­ing a front blade, rear air dif­fuser and ad­di­tional rear spoiler.

Its dis­tinc­tive “pout­ing” rear end comes with a sig­na­ture trape­zoidal­shaped cen­tral ex­haust pipe. A hint of mean, ag­gres­sive in­tent high­lighted by the ex­tra tinted win­dows.

All the sport trap­pings are topped up by the op­tional 19-inch al­loy wheels. Enough of the ex­te­rior ad­mi­ra­tion, it’s in­side where you’ll spend the ma­jor­ity of your time as you take to Tar­mac.

And it’s a very fine place to in­habit, a classy cabin of soft plas­tics and two-tone leather up­hol­stery. Shaped-to-the-body­con­toured op­tional Re­caro sports seats are a stand­out fea­ture.

But there’s more in the guise of Re­nault­sport kit, such as door sill kick plates, alu­minium ped­als, leather steer­ing wheel with yel­low stitched cen­tre­band and reach and rake ad­just­ment, and an ana­logue speedome­ter and yel­low-faced rev counter; it is only the clock that is dig­i­tal. A neat race-like touch is the Re­nault­sport Monitor, an on­board teleme­try sys­tem which can record real-time lap in­for­ma­tion, G-forces and per­for­mance and en­gine data.

Should you re­quire the ad­di­tional seat­ing, ac­cess to the rear is straight­for­ward and pro­vides space for two. De­spite the low roofline, it’s a com­fort­able en­vi­ron­ment.

But it’s up front where you want to be, be­hind the wheel and fir­ing up 250bhp of tur­bocharged petrol power.

Press the Start but­ton, en­gage the gear lever of the six-speed man­ual ’box and move off.

Yes, it’s brisk, the bench­mark 62mph reached in a whisker over six sec­onds on your way to a po­ten­tial top speed of 156mph. A healthy reser­voir of torque, 251lb ft to be ex­act, and from 3,000rpm, adds to its mal­leabil­ity at low speeds. This Me­gane is as friendly at low ur­ban speeds as it is en­gag­ingly ex­hil­a­rat­ing when hur­ried along.

This is one swift mo­tor – with the bench­mark 62mph reached in a whisker over six sec­onds en route to a po­ten­tial top speed of 156mph.

It is fit­ted with the stan­dard Sport chas­sis – the al­ter­na­tive is the Cup chas­sis which fea­tures a limited slip dif­fer­en­tial. As a de­par­ture from the stan­dard car, Re­nault­sport has fit­ted its Per­fo­Hub sus­pen­sion at the front where alu­minium dou­ble-axis struts help to negate torque steer.

The steer­ing is pre­cise and in­stantly re­spon­sive to your ev­ery touch. This Me­gane han­dles a treat, grippy and as­sured on fast straights and flat on bends; Re­nault­sport sporti­ness in­stils a su­per sense of fun.

But should you get to the point of over­cook­ing it, though, its brak­ing power – mas­sive 340mm ven­ti­lated front disc brakes with Brembo four­pot cal­lipers and 290mm discs to the rear – will bring you to a halt in dou­ble quick time. For ex­tra backup you can count on Re­nault­sport Dy­namic Man­age­ment, a three-stage Elec­tronic Sta­bil­ity Pro­gramme. Re­nault’s ex­cel­lent rep­u­ta­tion for safety is un­der­lined.

Other equip­ment, such as dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, auto head­lights and wipers and Blue­tooth, en­sure a high de­gree of com­fort and con­ve­nience for ev­ery­day mo­tor­ing.

A so­phis­ti­cated pack­age for the man racer, a bar­gain at £24,160 on the road.

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