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Future models - Renault - Megane - RS 275 Trophy

Monstered Megane reclaims ’Ring record

Badge of honour: The Renault Sport Megane Trophy-R is essentially a race car for the road, featuring a number of light-weighting tricks that don’t make it quicker than a regular RS Megane in a straight line, but appear to help it corner faster.

Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy-R Australia-bound in limited numbers

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Renault logo17 Jun 2014

By BARRY PARK

A CORNER-CARVING version of the three-door Renault Megane has set a sub-eight minute record for the fastest front-wheel-drive lap of Germany’s tortuous Nurburgring – and it’s coming to Australia.

Renault Australia has confirmed an allocation of 50 Megane RS 275 Trophy-R hot hatches – the work of in-house tuning skunkworks Renault Sport – will make it here out of an international allocation of just 250 cars, making Australia the second-largest market for the hottest Megane yet worldwide.

It will also wear a new track record for the Nordschleife northern loop of the Nurburgring: 7:54.36 minutes, making it almost as fast as a previous-generation Porsche 911 Turbo or the original 2008 Nissan GT-R.

The time sees it take back the crown from the VW Group’s Seat Leon Cupra 280, lowering the benchmark by four seconds, while Opel (with the Astra Extreme) and Honda (with the Civic Type R) have also publicly proclaimed that they intend to set a new record at the circuit with their latest hot hatches.

Pricing is still to be confirmed, but the Trophy-R is likely to wear a pricetag of about $65,000 when it arrives in December, giving it a premium of about $14,000 over the more lifestyle-friendly version – and seeing it about $5000 clear of the forthcoming limited-issue RS275 due around September.

The hardcore Trophy-R will come standard with Renault Sport’s Cup chassis, including a limited-slip differential between the front wheels, and a slightly more powerful version of the turbocharged 2.0-litre R.S. engine bumped up to 201kW of power at 5500rpm from the standard Renault Sport Megane’s 195kW output, and the same 360Nm of torque from 3000-5000rpm.

It also gains special light-weighting tricks such as no rear seats, moulded plastic sports bucket front seats fitted with six-point harnesses that suck 42kg out of the kerb mass, a titanium exhaust system, and a more compact, racing-spec lithium-ion battery to replace the heavy lead-acid default.

All up, weight is reduced from the regular RS Megane’s 1374kg to just 1297 – a 77kg saving and making it only 79kg heavier than the smaller Clio Renault Sport 200.

Its road-holding ability is enhanced via specialist one-way adjustable Ohlins dampers with composite springs, and it sticks to the road surface via Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres specifically adapted to the car and wrapped around 19-inch alloy wheels.

The brakes, meanwhile, step up to 350/28-diameter steel and aluminium discs from the standard 340mm units, shedding another 3kg in weight, while drive is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.

The cars in line for the Australian market will arrive either in white with a contrasting black roof, or black with a contrasting white roof.

Contrary to the fit-out for cars slated for other markets, Renault Australia said our version of the Trophy-R would come equipped with a multimedia head unit and air-conditioning as standard, and not as part of the options list – that is, unless the customer doesn’t want them.

The Trophy-R will make the sprint from 0-100km/h in 6.0 seconds, exactly the same time as the regular Megane, and features the same 255km/h top speed.

Fuel use for the more highly strung, but considerably lighter car is officially 7.5L/100km, compared with 8.2 for the more pedestrian Renault Sport Megane.

Previous Nurburgring records for the Megane include a 8:07.97 for the previous RS Trophy, and an 8:16.90 which set the previous FWD lap record.

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