12 Mar 2014

2014 Renaultsport Megane 265 Review

Graham King reviews the facelifted 2014 Megane RS Lux

2014 Renaultsport Megane 265

For 2014 Renault has given the entire Megane range a new look. A new bumper, headlights, grille and bonnet bring the styling in line with last year's new Clio, which debuted Renault's latest 'face'. A similar makeover has been applied to the rest of the range, too.

As well as the revised front there are some detail changes but, frankly, you would need a magnifying glass to find them. Apart from the nose job, it is essentially exactly the same as before.

In the case of the Renaultsport 265 version, that isn't actually a bad thing. We know it be near the top of the hot hatch table, as Matt explained when he drove the RS Cup last year. In fact, if you value driving precision above all else, you could make an argument for the RS Cup being the greatest hot hatch of all time.

I drove one myself last year in damp, cold and greasy conditions that were a long way from ideal for a car with track-biased suspension, trick tyres and a LSD. And yet despite the torque steer, the tramlining, the incredibly stiff ride and the nagging doubt about whether or not the tyres could cope, it was the most fantastically exciting car to drive.

This time I drove the non-Cup model. Like I said, the 2014 car is little different from the pre-facelift version, but it is worth going over the difference between the Lux and the Cup.

There is no getting away from the fact that, for everyday use on Britain's ruined roads, the standard Megane RS is a much better prospect than the Cup. Lacking the LSD, the power is much more manageable without the torque steer, and it does not sniff every line and camber in the road. Equally the ride is orders of magnitude more forgiving, being just on the firm side of comfortable.
2014 Renaultsport Megane 265

Incidentally, I could forgive the RS Cup for its ride, because it has the most fabulously comfortable seats. The leather pews in the car tested here offer less lateral support, but are still among the best I've ever used - I speak as someone with long-term back issues who lasts about 10 minutes in a bad seat.

While we're on the interior, it's a nice enough place to be. The design isn't exactly interesting, even with a few Renaultsport flourishes, but the materials feel almost premium and there's more than enough equipment to keep you entertained.

But don't think that, just because it's more compliant and forgiving, the regular RS has lost its edge entirely. It is still possible to make indecently fast progress, surfing the engine's considerable power and torque. Grip is prodigious and body roll is near-enough non-existent. But the simple fact is that you just don't feel quite as involved in the whole process.

In many ways this Megane RS reminds of my old Octavia vRS: get to the end of a good, fast drive and you feel satisfied that it was a good, fast drive, but you didn't necessarily have all that much fun in the process.

If you do a lot of trackdays, then the Megane RS Cup is unquestionably the one you want. But if you do most of your driving in the real world, with its broken and potholed roads, the standard RS will be much easier to live with and probably ultimately faster on your favourite B-road, thanks to the extra give in the suspension. But you would have more fun (and save a couple of grand) in a Focus ST.


Price: £26,925 (£31,665 as tested)
Engine: 1998cc, 4-cylinder, turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, FWD
Power: 265hp
Torque: 360Nm
Weight: 1394kg
0-62mph: 6.0secs
Top speed: 158mph
Combined fuel consumption: 37.7mpg
 Co2 emissions: 174g/km
2014 Renaultsport Megane 265

2014 Renaultsport Megane 265