RE: Renault Sport Megane 300 Trophy | PH Fleet

RE: Renault Sport Megane 300 Trophy | PH Fleet

Sunday 11th August

Renault Sport Megane 300 Trophy | PH Fleet

Sometimes maddening, sometimes magnificent, there's never a dull day with a Megane Trophy



Up until very recently, there wasn't going to be a great deal of positive to say about the first full month of vicarious Trophy ownership. Handily it's been saved, but it is worth dealing with the flaws first off.

The more I drive this Megane, the more I'm convinced it was never intended to be a manual. Hardly an original viewpoint, given many seem to have voiced it, but worth discussing a bit further. The decision has been vindicated in the UK, with the vast majority of buyers for the 280 opting for it, but I'm not sure it's the best suit. The shift is far from the best, but the clutch position is awkward as well, and there's more intrusion from the dash than is really ideal. Yet brake and throttle are good. Given the Alpine uses this engine with only the dual-clutch auto, there might be some substance to the conjecture. Maybe the fallout from the auto-only Clio R.S. was noted and a manual forced through for the Megane. Whatever the case, it will be interesting to try a DCT Trophy at some point to see how different they are.

Speaking of the Alpine, a drive of both A110 and Megane on the same day did the latter no favours. Of course they're very different cars, and the hatch far cheaper than the sports coupe on a bespoke platform, but the Trophy did feel a little shown up. Where the Alpine was light, effortless and natural, the Megane felt contrived, unnecessarily hard and distant. Layouts and remits mean they'll never be similar - and that would be stupid - although it would be nice to at least have some commonalities, in the way that Porsche Cayenne brakes feel a lot like 911 ones.


Then it got more annoying. The driving position just didn't seem to suit (despite the seats being great), wheel not coming out far enough; the infotainment (that is awkward at best) froze CarPlay on a few separate occasions; and the ride just will not let up at low speed, which is far from handy when your holiday requires lots of slow trundling through country lanes.

Spending this money, the usability side of things should be important - this is grown up's hot hatch, not a Fiesta ST. And in that regard, the Megane does struggle. However, you'd also hope that any hot hatch buyers care about how their car drives, and this Megane - in certain situations - can absolutely deliver.

Once keyed into how that four-wheel steer works - in Sport mode at least, the Race exploration is to come - the way this Trophy can carve through a corner is incredible. Unlike many hot hatches it feels uncannily neutral, like weight and effort is being shared evenly throughout the car and not dominated by the front. The brakes feel great, the traction churned out by the limited-slip diff is supreme and the body control at speed, as discussed before, is just fantastic.


Tell you what it feels like (to some extent), and that's those old F2 rally cars of the late 90s. Well, from watching videos of them it does. They were busy, excitable, quite frantic front-wheel drive cars, skipping and sliding their way through stages, yet delivered enormous speed across the ground. The method and application maybe wasn't quite conventional, though the results were extraordinary. The Megane doesn't always make a lot of sense, I will concede that. But don't mistake that for missing talent.

A recent journey to Wales, not even including an interesting bit the country, showed the Megane off well. Even in appalling conditions it drew huge traction from the surface, never losing that focus and accuracy that's there in the dry. The cruise was even perfectly acceptable, too, so perhaps I'm getting used to that.

Combining a half-decent drive with positive comments from passers-by, the outrageously naughty noises it makes and the fact I've not kerbed it yet (let's see how that's doing next month), and the Megane drawbacks are almost forgotten for the moment. It's not a perfect hot hatch by any stretch of the imagination - in fact it's a right pain in the bum at points - but there are sufficient moments when I don't want to drive anything else. Let's hope there's a few more coming in the next month or two...


FACT SHEET
Car:
Renault Sport Megane 300 Trophy
Run by: Matt
Mileage: 3,266
Last month at a glance: Brilliant, baffling, bemusing. What next?

Previous reports:
Hey good looking!




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Author
Discussion

Bright Halo

Original Poster:

784 posts

179 months

Sunday 11th August
quotequote all
We are very interested in a RS Trophy as our next car.
My wife will be driving it most of the time and as she is vertically challenged (5ft) we cannot go for the Recaro’s as the dealer informed us they are not height adjustable.
Are the standard seats any good for general driving and odd track day?

foxspeed

21 posts

133 months

Sunday 11th August
quotequote all
recaros are height adjustable

Augustus Windsock

1,736 posts

99 months

Sunday 11th August
quotequote all
Bright Halo said:
We are very interested in a RS Trophy as our next car.
My wife will be driving it most of the time and as she is vertically challenged (5ft) we cannot go for the Recaro’s as the dealer informed us they are not height adjustable.
Are the standard seats any good for general driving and odd track day?
Think the unnamed Main Stealer needs a kick up the backside if that’s correct, they really should know the basics...

CraigV6

176 posts

75 months

Sunday 11th August
quotequote all
Recaro’s are definitely height adjustable.

Race mode moves this car to the next level of cornering I feel.
Surprised PH haven’t tried it in anger yet.

Pesty

40,100 posts

200 months

Sunday 11th August
quotequote all
I think these are my favourite hot hatch at the moment.

Gandahar

6,866 posts

72 months

Sunday 11th August
quotequote all
Nice review Matt, again.

The gearbox is one of those damned if you do or damned if you don't things, it seems to be damned manual or non manual. Renault need to sort this out, or perhaps Porsche and Ferrari having a ste load of money to spend on their uber gearboxes means the journos feel let down when it comes to something costing rather less?

PH need to get the cheapest version of the new Nurburgring champion from Renault sport as a long term test. none of those carbon wheels etc



Notanotherturbo

330 posts

151 months

Sunday 11th August
quotequote all
I don't understand the criticism of the ride. This is the super focused semi competition car spec, what do you expect? Just buy the standard version rather than the Trophy if you want a little more comfort - that's the whole point surely?

Derek Chevalier

2,394 posts

117 months

Sunday 11th August
quotequote all
Notanotherturbo said:
I don't understand the criticism of the ride. This is the super focused semi competition car spec, what do you expect? Just buy the standard version rather than the Trophy if you want a little more comfort - that's the whole point surely?
The Civic manages to have a good ride and great gearbox, even if the looks aren't to everyone's taste.

Gandahar

6,866 posts

72 months

Sunday 11th August
quotequote all
Derek Chevalier said:
Notanotherturbo said:
I don't understand the criticism of the ride. This is the super focused semi competition car spec, what do you expect? Just buy the standard version rather than the Trophy if you want a little more comfort - that's the whole point surely?
The Civic manages to have a good ride and great gearbox, even if the looks aren't to everyone's taste.
Civic is my wife's nickname for all the above reasons.

Zarco

12,259 posts

153 months

Sunday 11th August
quotequote all
Gandahar said:
Derek Chevalier said:
Notanotherturbo said:
I don't understand the criticism of the ride. This is the super focused semi competition car spec, what do you expect? Just buy the standard version rather than the Trophy if you want a little more comfort - that's the whole point surely?
The Civic manages to have a good ride and great gearbox, even if the looks aren't to everyone's taste.
Civic is my wife's nickname for all the above reasons.
hehe

CraigV6

176 posts

75 months

Sunday 11th August
quotequote all
Derek Chevalier said:
The Civic manages to have a good ride and great gearbox, even if the looks aren't to everyone's taste.
It’s a shame Honda don’t offer a better looking version.

Turbojuice

413 posts

33 months

Sunday 11th August
quotequote all
Notanotherturbo said:
I don't understand the criticism of the ride. This is the super focused semi competition car spec, what do you expect? Just buy the standard version rather than the Trophy if you want a little more comfort - that's the whole point surely?
Just classic hypocritical car journalism in my opinion. You buy this car for how it drives, there's always going to be some trade-off for comfort but it really is not that bad at all. If you are a stickler for ride comfort and refinement is any hot hatch a sensible choice? I'd say no.

The notchy gearbox is a bit of a renaultsport trait. The old one was no different but again it's far from a bad trait.

okenemem

443 posts

138 months

Monday 12th August
quotequote all
dont see many of these on the roads even the basic models

Derek Chevalier

2,394 posts

117 months

Monday 12th August
quotequote all
Zarco said:
Gandahar said:
Derek Chevalier said:
Notanotherturbo said:
I don't understand the criticism of the ride. This is the super focused semi competition car spec, what do you expect? Just buy the standard version rather than the Trophy if you want a little more comfort - that's the whole point surely?
The Civic manages to have a good ride and great gearbox, even if the looks aren't to everyone's taste.
Civic is my wife's nickname for all the above reasons.
hehe
hehe

GTEYE

1,377 posts

154 months

Monday 12th August
quotequote all
okenemem said:
dont see many of these on the roads even the basic models
You don’t see many recent Renaults of any description since they closed a big chunk of the dealer network after culling much of the range.

Here in Europe they are a much more common sight - cars the newer Talisman and Espace are good looking cars missing from the UK market.

CraigV6

176 posts

75 months

Monday 12th August
quotequote all
Turbojuice said:
Just classic hypocritical car journalism in my opinion. You buy this car for how it drives, there's always going to be some trade-off for comfort but it really is not that bad at all. If you are a stickler for ride comfort and refinement is any hot hatch a sensible choice? I'd say no.

The notchy gearbox is a bit of a renaultsport trait. The old one was no different but again it's far from a bad trait.
The gearbox in the mk3 was much better than in the mk4.
3rd can be a mystery at times. Never had such problems in my Cup-S.

BrotherMouzone

2,226 posts

118 months

Monday 12th August
quotequote all
Doesn’t look like it’s got Ohlins. Can it be spec’d with?

Really impressed with the Ohlins R&T on a Porsche 996 Carrera, and that’s just from the passenger seat.

Harry_523

162 posts

43 months

Monday 12th August
quotequote all
Notanotherturbo said:
semi competition car spec
What competition is that then?

its a road car, nothing competition about it so no excuse for poor ride.

Frimley111R

9,858 posts

178 months

Monday 12th August
quotequote all
CraigV6 said:
Derek Chevalier said:
The Civic manages to have a good ride and great gearbox, even if the looks aren't to everyone's taste.
It’s a shame Honda don’t offer a better looking version.
It doesn't need one, it looks awesome, full-on, in you're face, I'm-fast styling. Life's too short for dull cars, the roads are full of them already.

Anyway, doesn't the CTR have a comfort button/setting though?

nickfrog

10,108 posts

161 months

Monday 12th August
quotequote all
Harry_523 said:
Notanotherturbo said:
semi competition car spec
What competition is that then?

its a road car, nothing competition about it so no excuse for poor ride.
True, but I don't think he meant competition in that sense. He probably referred to the Megane ' s traditional track capabilities for a humble road car. The Mk3 was just a set of pads, semis and fluid away from the most versatile trackable daily I know of, particularly at that budget and in Cup / Trophy trim. And that will always be at the detriment of the ride, particularly as the rear is tuned for maximum neutrality.

The hydraulic bump stops actually help the MK4 a little.