World’s wildest hot hatch revealed
Renault has dipped into the supercar parts catalogue to build the most extreme hot hatch on the road.
The new Megane Trophy-R weighs a staggering 130 kilograms less than Renault's regular Megane RS, elevating its performance to supercar-rivalling levels.
Powered by the same 220kW/420Nm 1.8-litre turbo engine as the upcoming Megane RS Trophy (the regular Megane RS gets 205kW), the machine employs super-lightweight carbon fibre wheels and carbon ceramic brakes to deliver impressive speed.
While we don't know how much the car will cost in Australia, it's likely to approach the $84,900 Toyota asks for its new Supra coupe.
That's because the Trophy-R's hardware is expensive. BMW charges $15,000 for similar Brembo-sourced carbon brakes as an option on its M4 coupe, while similar Adelaide-built Carbon Revolution wheels available for the Ford Mustang in America cost around US$11,500 ($16,750) as an option.
The only car available in Australia with carbon wheels is Ferrari's 488 Pista.
If that sounds like an extreme measure for a hot hatch, consider that US magazine Car and Driver performed back-to-back tests with a V8 Mustang fitted with carbon wheels, finding the lightweight rims shaved a shocking 1.2 seconds off the time taken to accelerate from 30mph to 130mph (48 to 209km/h).
The previous-generation Megane Trophy R omitted air conditioning and a stereo in the name of weight loss. Even the suspension's springs were made of composite plastic.
Factor in exotic Ohlins shocks, lightweight Sabelt seats, a titanium exhaust and other tweaks which might include less sound deadening and thinner glass for the new car, and the result is a hatch which should cost significantly more than the circa-$50,000 Megane Trophy.
Renault says the new Megane can lap Germany's Nurburburgring Nordschleife in 7m40.1s, making it the fastest hot hatch to lap the 'ring. The previous record holder, Honda's Civic Type R, set a 7m43.8s lap in 2017.
But 'ring laps should be taken with a grain of salt, as the circuit evolves to accommodate ever-faster race cars. Resurfaced elements and flattened-out crests account for some of the difference between this Trophy-R and the previous-generation model which recorded a 7m54.36s lap in 2014.