You never quite know what you’re going to get in a track hatch. For every surprisingly brilliant Golf GTI Clubsport S, there’s a Mini GP that no one expected to be so obvious. The Civic Type R Limited is great to drive but seriously undermines the usability of a standard by removing the stereo and air-con. While keeping the rear seats. However, with how the next few years are looking for hot hatches, maybe we should just be glad that such nonsense happened. It seems highly unlikely that there will be any challengers for the current Civic Type R’s Nurburgring crown, just a few years ago every manufacturer from SEAT to Vauxhall was thinking of making the fastest front-driver around.
The Renaultsport has always been reliable for a fun two-seat hatch. Decades before the latest phenomenon, there were engines in the middle of 5s and Clios, absolutely crazy little cars that could have just come from the French. They aren’t necessarily track-oriented in the modern context, although they are hot hatches (of a sort) like no other. Which Renault and Renaultsport in particular tend to do better than anyone else.
It’s a surprise we got the Megane Trophy-R in the UK at all. Its predecessor, the Megane R26.R, went unsold, something unheard of in an age of hoarding collectible cars – but, of course, a very plausible fact in the days of the late 2000s financial meltdown. There aren’t enough people in the UK out there willing to part with £24k for a two-seater Megane, however great it is to drive. The fools.
Undeterred, Renaultsport created this Trophy-R in a similar vein, albeit with only 30 destined for the UK rather than 230 a few years earlier (of which around 160 were sold). The strategy is almost the same in fact, with no more power from the 2.0-liter turbo (now 275hp instead of 230), money instead invested in expensive hardware such as Ohlins dampers, Allevard composite springs, Michelin Cup 2 tires and an Akrapovic exhaust. Like the R26.R, more than 100kg was taken from the Trophy to create the Trophy-R, and with it comes one of the great front-drive experiences. A Nurburgring lap of 7:54.3 only told half the story: it was the Megane’s tart character and incredible feel that ensured it legendary status.
With so few available in the UK, it is rare that a Trophy R is sold. It was the same case with the later, 300hp, five-door car, because the same number came and it was more expensive. But we have one here, and an incredibly low mileage one at that – just 7,800 miles. It was recently given a new cambelt kit and four new Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, a worthwhile saving for the next owner. BC Racing coilovers are also fitted, which may delay originality, but standard Ohlins dampers are included in the sale.
‘This car is truly amazing and in all honesty I am fighting myself selling it because it is so special to me’, the ad reads. That’s the kind of sway these cars can have! Owning any of the two-seater Meganes currently on sale is a real find, as some have been exported and many have been lovingly maintained; never had an experience quite like a Renaultsport hot hatch with a cage instead of rear seats, and there won’t be another. So buyers may be reluctant to leave.
It looks like quite a coincidence, then. This is £35,000, slightly less than the new price from 2015 and indicates how expensive these cars are and the condition of this example. There are newer, more powerful Meganes available for less money, but that’s not the point. For the ultimate expression of what Renaultsport can achieve in its luxury, you want as many stickers (and as few seats) as possible.
SPECIFICATION | RENAULT MEGANE RS TROPHY-R
Engine: 1,998cc, four-cyl turbo
Infection: 6-spd manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 275@5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 265@3,000-5,000rpm
MPG: 37.7 mpg
First registered: 2015
Recorded mileage: 7,800
new price: £36,430
Yours for: £35,000
#Renaultsport #Megane #TrophyR #Speckled