Published on June 3rd, 2013 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Renault Megane RS265 Test Drive Review
This Megane coupé comes with sleek looks which have been admired since its launch 3 years ago. The atmosphere of the roomy interior is sporty and classy. In contrast to many other coupés which are often merely hatchback variants of a sedan, the Megane is the sharpest looking Renault when it comes to design and the very essence of what a coupé should be. The Megane’s sculpted shapes with precise accents and dramatic proportions make it the ultimate expression of Renault’s design language.
With maximum power of 265hp (up 15hp), peak torque of 360Nm (+20Nm) available across a particularly broad rev-band from 3,000 to 5,000rpm, this car boasts an exceptional performance package.
Beyond these statistics, however, the experience of driving Renault Mégane RS265 is a constant source of enjoyment and satisfying sensations. In addition to the finely-tuned set-up of the Cup chassis and the standard limited slip differential, a new tyre fitment contributes to the car’s exceptional road-holding on dry roads, especially through tighter turns, as well as in the wet. The design of the Formula 1-inspired Bridgestone Potenza RE050A’s asymmetric, directional tread pattern and the form of its tread blocks provide outstanding grip, stability and acoustic comfort, whatever the conditions.
This car is a real coupés racer and, as such, needs to communicate this to all who request entry. The suspension is skewed heavily in favour of ‘performance’ and though ride quality suffers because of this (even on nominal surfaces), it is a RS (Renault Sport) developed car after all. If a smooth pliant ride is a priority, you may want check out something German in origin.
Out in the country, where the traffic was almost non-existent and the flowing corners abundant, this RS265 came to town. It holds a tight line through a given corner, smooth surface or not, but because of its immediate power delivery traction is rarely missing. The front wheels are difficult to displace and as such you never feel the need to hold back. Pushing the hyperactive 2.0-litre engine to its redline just the other side of 8000rpm results in an acoustic explosion and the sort of acceleration one doesn’t normally associate with a French coupés. If you’re willing to push the limits of both the engine and the chassis, you’ll find the RS265 to be a road warrior of high repute.
I really liked that the engine provided the car with a unique feel, because so few coupes today come with a manual gearbox that has a weight clutch. Together with its precise (and lag-free) throttle response this RS265 is supremely involving to drive. Body roll is muted, as is torque steer, and the steering response to your hands is fantastic. The leather wrapped steering wheel feels great with a decent amount of weight behind it. It requires only small inputs to get the car to turn in. The precise steering makes you feel directly connected to the car, and the feedback is likewise very clear.
Indeed, communication through the chassis via the seat and steering wheel was very good. The car felt so undeniably sure of itself and so stable that after the first few corners I have to say that this RS265 has the best turn-in of any coupe I’ve driven to date.
It must be noted that this RS265 requires far more focus to extract maximum performance when driving at high speeds. And therein lies one of the car’s best attributes; at the end of the day, the extra level of driver involvement makes the journey a much more memorable and rewarding experience.
The chassis is best described as well done. As a result the car feels well balanced under full throttle loads when leaning through corners and the direct steering adds supreme levels of confidence.
Darting in and out of the gaps like a hot hatch, the RS265’s only shortcoming during the everyday drive will be the heavy throttle, extensive rear blind spot brought about by the rear pillars and the large Recaro front seats which starts getting a little troublesome. Also the front seatbelts were positioned too far back, meaning you had to really stretch to get them. Otherwise, it’s a real pleasure to drive and capable of generating some very serious lateral G-forces.
Renault Megane RS265 Specifications
Engine: 4-cylinder Turbocharged
Power: 265bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque: 360Nm @ 3000rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Top speed: 255km/h