This is the 2011 Renault Megane RS250 Cup, driven by our photographer Willem de Zeeuw and one of the most potent hot hatches from France. Maybe not the first choice we would make, but according to our crew member one of the best drivers’ cars money can buy. So he stepped behind the wheel of the 2011 Renaultsport RS250 for a day, testing its capabilities on local roads, and shared his story with us.
With weather predictions for the day being poor, and having 250hp on tap we were in for a blast. The idea was to push the vehicle up to its limit, to find its boundaries. Parked in front us as at the local importer, a bright yellow French sports car fitted with beautiful thick 19 inch rims.
The RS250 Cup is easily recognizable as a Megane RS because of the logos in the grill and on the back, flared wheel arches, side skirts, F1-style front blade and a huge central tailpipe that sits inside an aerodynamic air diffuser. Open the door and the inside offers a unique rev counter, seatbelts, steering wheel and gear lever, some extra trim on the leather seats, all finished in with accents of yellow inviting us for a drive. The optional Recaro seats fitted to our test car offered an improved seating position for track-biased and sporty drivers.
Under the bonnet, you will find a 2.0 liter turbocharged engine, which is a heavily revised version of the unit found in the Renault Megane R26.R and boosted up to 250hp and 340Nm of torque. The new version of the Renault Megane RS – the 2012 facelift – received an upgrade of 15hp and 20Nm, a performance level equal to that of the Trophy edition.
The turbocharged power plant offers a strong acceleration improvements between 1,500rpm and the red line. From 1,800rpm at least 80 percent of the maximum pulling power is available offering a sprint from zero to 100km/h in just 6.1 seconds. The new 2012 version does the same sprint in six seconds and it has a five km/h higher top speed (255km/h) then the pre-facelift model.
The traction is the clear player when it comes to the RS250. The absence of torque steer while accelerating out of fast corners and the direct steering offers the driver access to a dynamically orientated daily drive. The suspension is firm, but not hard, even though the car was fitted with the optional Cup package. The high levels of grip are compounded by a taught and agile front wheel drive chassis that feels at home on even the twistiest of b-roads.
The Cup package brings a stiffened suspension setup, a limited slip differential for less wheel spin through corners and dispenses with some of the regular Renaultsport’s luxury kit. Only choose this option when you are looking for a track-focused car, which is capable of being the fastest production model with front-wheel-drive around the Nurburgring Nordschleife. Just for the record, the Megane RS is the fastest front-wheel-drive sports car around the Green Hell.
To increase the feel good factor of the French hatchback, the traction control has three settings to choose from. Between on and off, you have sport with less interference from the electronic systems than on and without turning them completely off. In both the off and sport modes, the engine noise increases, the throttle response sharpens and there is more room to play for the skillful driver.
The Renault Megane RS250 Cup is a wonderful compromise between the ultimate sportiveness of a front-wheel-drive car and the comfort of the standard Megane. The RS package holds its own as a superb day-to-day driver with the Cup package addressing the agility and handling of the car.
The balanced ride and minimum body roll are clear winners, combined with precise steering and a refined engine that compliment the purposeful chassis perfectly. On the technical side all seems fine, on the inside we would have loved to see more upgrades that would match the exterior’s visual impact.
Thanks to for sharing the story.