Renault Megane 250RS Driven

Renault has really lifted its game with the Renault Megane 250RS bringing with it Audi levels of build quality combined with a chassis tuned for the track. The question for us though is will the Renault Megane 250RS be a future classic, or has Renault gone too far and omitted a key ingredient?

Here at Classic Cars Driven.com we love to tune into the personality of cars and understand how they feel and communicate with you whilst out on the road. A criticism levied at many modern cars is that their personalities are missing and they are just boxes. Reliable, efficient, versatile and everything you need as daily transport maybe, but just boxes all the same. Renault on the other hand has a long tradition of building quirky cars that buck the trend and provide a fun alternative to the norm.

Renault Megane 250RS
Agressive styling, bright yellow paint and Brembo brakes, subtle it is not

Shut the door on this bright yellow Cup edition model and there is a very Germanic feel that accompanies the solid sounding clunk. Press the starter button and the engine is barely audible up front. Pull away and the same silence greets you as you drive up the road, very strange for an upwards of 250bhp French hot hatch. In fact it’s not until you completely bury the throttle that the car comes alive. When you do the fireworks really begin with a loud induction noise and raspy turbo exhaust note. All while the front wheels track every contour in the road as massive torque is distributed evenly between them.

Push hard and you get the first clue on how a car designed to deliver quick lap times can begin to frustrate on the road. 0-60mph is despatched with in a little over six seconds and as we all know 60-70mph is as fast as you can travel legally on the highway in the UK. That you achieve it so quickly and then have more than enough grip from the extremely wide 235 section tyres to keep it there with very little effort, is a little bit depressing. The brakes don’t help either, being so powerful that short of a wild animal deliberately attempting suicide directly in front of you most situations are dealt with without any fuss at all.

Out on track things are different. OK the extra mass of the Renault Megane 250RS over the previous model is felt most in the corners, but then so is the extra grunt accelerating it down the straights. The narrow hatch stiffens the rear of the car to eradicate under-steer and Renaultsport’s aggressive suspension settings ensure over-steer is also on-tap every time you choose to lift the throttle mid-bend. This is a car that just loves being rung out on the circuit and then, in this country at least, seemingly spends the rest of its life just waiting around. Audio clip of the Renault Megane 250RS racing past with the throttle well and truly buried right up to the rev limiter.

Renault Megane 250RS
Mégane 250RS looks striking on the road but only gets to really shine when out on-track (Pictures: Matt and Julia Nichols)

In terms of practicalities there is enough room inside for four adults, though the portholes in the rear may not suit all passengers, and ample space in the boot for luggage. The Renault Megane 250RS will also deliver over 30mpg with a range of 400 miles achievable from the tank if driven sensibly. The Renault Megane 250RS is at the end of the day a great car built to high standards and a very serious tool out on track. The issue is that when driven on the road within the legal speed limits its vast capabilities mean that the enjoyment factor is a little diluted. This is a real shame in many ways from a manufacturer who has traditionally fought hard to give us fast, fun, albeit slightly fragile road cars.

Answering the question whether the Renault Megane 250RS will ever be a future classic, only time will tell, although I suspect more likely is it going down in the history books as once having set the fastest lap time in its class around the Nürburgring.

How does this car make you feel?

In one word: Confused (Are you a road car, or a track car…)

As a favourite meal: Coronation chicken

Anything Else: Buy another three space-saver spare wheels and fit all four permanently for the road to liven things up a bit (Winter tyres will also deliver lurid wheel spinning action in the first three gears)

Key Ingredients: Striking looks, blistering pace, on-track capability and the day to day practicalities it offers as a relatively frugal hot hatch

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About Matt Nichols 142 Articles
Matt is serving a self imposed lifetime ban from owning and maintaining a classic car himself, after several failed projects. The question is, how long will that last in reality and will he crack in 2013...

1 Comment

  1. As the time draws close to say goodbye to our Megane 250RS Cup after 3 years, 68,000 miles, 9 sprint events and 4 class wins then I for one will be very sad to see it go. It took nearly 50,000 miles, but once run-in the personality of the 250RS Cup reminded me of Renaults of old being a whole lot of fun. A future classic? Well you know it may very well be.

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