On test… Renault Megane RS Cup
The French are mad. Everyone knows that. They all play the accordion, shout “Richelieu” whenever the mood takes, and hold a race called The Dakar in
It’s also the best sports hatch currently available in SA. Yes, yes, Ford Focus RS fans might be raising their hands at this point, but put them down mon ami. Besides costing R100k more than the Frenchie, you can’t actually buy a Focus RS any way, can you? The small number brought into SA were all immediately sold. And that leaves the RS Cup at the top of the pile. And here’s why…
It’s hand-built. RS stands for “RenaultSport” and that means it’s a low-volume car assembled at Renaultsport’s
It has a coupé/hatch vibe. Like VW’s gorgeous Scirocco, this Megane is a low-slung coupé full of flowing, intersecting curves and muscley bulges. Blacked out body parts accent the menace along with 19" alloys, flared wheel arches, and bright red Brembo brake calipers. Like the German, it definitely blurs coupe/hatch line.
It’s flippin’ quick. Lift the hood and you’ll see a two-litre, four-cylinder turbo that’s good for rubber-melting 184kW and 340Nm. Drop your foot and you’ll you do 0-100km/h in 6.1 secs and, if your boules are big enough, hit 250km/h. The big question with powerful front-wheel drive cars, obviously, is how it’ll translate all that power without being twitchier than a frog in Parisian bistro. The RS manages it very successfully and it does so with a relatively simple mechanical limited-slip diff. I don’t know how it manages it, but, believe me, it does.
It’s the Cup version Which means it’s like the normal Megane RS Sport, but turned up to 11. The Cup might share the same engine as the standard RS, but the engineers have firmed up and dropped the suspension, added those competition-spec Brembo brakes, stepped up from 18” to 19” rubber, and added lightweight Recaro racing seats. If the car has any faults it’s a six-speed gearbox that’s ok, but not as razor-sharp as the rest of the car, and a teency bit of inevitable low-rev turbo lag. But these minor flaws are far outweighed by a very fast but hugely drivable motor car. It mighty lack the savage intensity of the Focus RS, but it goes just as quickly. More a cognac and coke than brandy and cola.
The Renault RS Cup goes for R399 900 and the standard Megane RS sport for R354 900.
(as appeared in the March issue of the Kulula in-flight mag)