Renault Sport has turned the wick up on its latest hot Mégane to produce the Trophy, a more potent and more driver focused take on the division’s Honda Civic Type R rival.
Both the engine and chassis of the Mégane Trophy have received extensive attention, helping it to earn the title of the most potent series production car to be produced by Renault’s performance arm.
Using a ramped up version of the RS Mégane’s turbocharged 1.8-litre engine with a new exhaust system, the Trophy produces up to 296bhp and 310lb ft of torque. Those are gains of 20bhp and 22lb ft over the normal RS model, and while it’s 20bhp short of the Civic Type R, the Mégane has a healthy 15lb ft advantage.
The car’s uprated four-cylinder is now also more responsive and eager to rev thanks to the use of new turbocharger hardware that’s inspired by Renault Sport’s Formula 1 engine. The turbo’s turbine, which rotates at almost 200,000ropm, is now mounted on a ceramic ball bearing, saving weight and reducing friction by a third. This responsiveness is maximised when the new exhaust system bypasses a silencer with a mechanical valve.
Renault Sport said the extra urgency of the powertrain essentially offsets a loss in power caused by increased backpressure, which has come thanks to the fitment of a new particulate filter, encouraged by the upcoming introduction of the WLTP. The powertrain therefore complies with the latest Euro 6d-Temp regulations
Like in the normal RS Mégane, drive is sent to the front wheels via a choice of two gearboxes: an EDC automatic or six-speed manual. The former enables the maximum torque mentioned earlier, but the latter requires a reduction in peak torque to bring it down to 295lb ft – still a 7lb ft improvement over the standard RS.
The EDC ‘box enables the slightly higher output because it can work with “specific mapping”, Renault Sport said. That advantage, as well as the quicker shifting times, will likely give an EDC-equipped Trophy the better straight-line performance, although at this stage only a 0-62mph time for the manual is provided. It hits the mark in 5.7sec, a tenth quicker than the normal manual RS.
To enhance the front-driven Trophy’s traction and agility, it comes as standard with the otherwise optional Cup pack. This brings a Torsen mechanical limited slip differential and stiffer suspension, which uses 25% firmer shock absorbers, 30% firmer springs and 10% stiffer anti-roll bars.
The fitment of aluminium hubs, which, along with new 19in Jerez alloy wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza S001 tyres, help to lower unsprung mass to improve steering feel and suspension performance, further boosts this track-ready setup. As does the addition of bi-material front brake discs of 355mm in diameter.
These discs are each 1.8kg lighter and are claimed to be even more capable of dissipating heat build up during hard use. They work with Brembo calipers finished in red.
From 2019 onwards, Renault Sport will offer optional 19in Fuji wheels, which will be 2kg lighter each than the Jerez items and come wrapped in stickier Bridgestone Potenza S007 tyres. The Japanese tyre maker has worked with Renault Sport to develop a specific version for this car.
Carried over from the standard Mégane performance model is Renault Sport’s 4Control all-wheel steering system, which enhances agility and improves high-speed stability.
The Trophy gets new seat mounts that sit the driver 20mm closer to the ground. There are also new optional Alcantara-covered Recaro sports seats, which are different from those offered on the normal RS hatch with even more lateral support.
Renault Sport’s hottest model will go on sale in the autumn, likely priced from around £30,000. First deliveries are due during the winter.
Although unconfirmed, an even more focused Trophy-R version is due next. That car will follow suit of the 275 Trophy-R of the last Mégane and ditch its back seats. It’s likely to challenge for the front-wheel drive Nürburgring lap record, currently held by archrival Honda’s Civic Type R.