It’s a triple threat throwdown of epic proportions!

The term “performance car” has taken on an entirely new meaning these days, so much so that even small compact hatchbacks can be identified as a performance car if it, well, performs like one. Take the Volkswagen Golf R and the Renault Megane RS Trophy, for example. You wouldn’t think of them as pocket rockets when you first see them, but they’re more than capable of turning your world upside down if you underestimate their performance capabilities. The all-wheel-drive Golf R and the front-wheel-drive Megane RS Trophy are bullets wrapped in an automotive body. But can they actually beat a car that was bred to be a performance savant like the Porsche 718 Boxster GTS?YouTube channel carwow sought to find out, and the results were, shall I say, interesting.

When was the last time you saw a Porsche line up next to a Volkswagen and a Renault in a starting line and thought that it would be a fair race? There once was a time when that sight would have brought out giggles and snickers, but that time has come and gone. These days, compact hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf R and Renault Megane Trophy can throw down with the Porsches, Audis, BMWs, and Mercedes of the world. That’s not the say that the Golf R and Megane Trophy would win all the time, but their punches are worth more than glancing blows now, and this video paints a good picture of that.

It’s a video presented by YouTube channel carwow, and in it, presenter Mat Watson gets inside a Volkswagen Golf R to take on a Renault Megane Trophy and a Porsche 718 Boxster GTS.

These three cars are different in a multitude of ways, including the size of the engines and the power outputs produced by each of these powertrains, though all three have similarities, too, including the availability of launch control in each one of them.

More importantly, these three performance cars offer three different drivetrains: the Golf R is all-wheel drive while the Porsche 718 Boxster GTS is rear-wheel drive and the Renault Megane RS Trophy is front-wheel drive.

Watch a Volkswagen Golf R Go Head-to-Head With a Porsche Boxster GTS and a Renault Megane Trophy RS
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How would these three different drivetrains affect each car when it came time to do a quarter-mile run? The video shows as much as the all-wheel drive Golf R gets off the line cleaner than both the rear-wheel drive 718 Boxster GTS and the front-wheel drive Megane. Unfortunately, the 718 Boxster GTS’ 2.5-liter flat-four engine (365 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque) showed off its might, eventually moving ahead of the Golf R and handily winning the race with a time of 12.8 seconds. The Golf R, whose 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque) worked its butt off, came in at second with a time of 13.4 seconds. The Renault Megane Trophy came in last with a time of 14.4 seconds, even though its 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque) had little to do with the outcome. For that, you can probably point to the Megane’s front-wheel drive setup since it doesn’t get off the line as fast as the rear-wheel drive 718 Boxster and the all-wheel drive Golf R.

Even if the 718 Boxster beat both its rivals in this test, it also showed that the Golf R managed to have the cleanest launch control start of all three models, validating the long-held belief that if you want consistent lap times with a car, an all-wheel drive drivetrain is the way to go.
Watch a Volkswagen Golf R Go Head-to-Head With a Porsche Boxster GTS and a Renault Megane Trophy RS
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Watson’s next test — a straight race with a rolling start at 50 mph — was a lot more predictable as the Golf R’s advantages over the 718 Boxster was compromised, ensuring an easy win for the German roadster.

Surprisingly, though, the Golf R managed to easily beat the Megane Trophy, too, even though both have the same output and the French hot hatch is lighter by around 100 kilos (220.5 pounds) compared to both the Golf R and the 718 Boxster.

The result isn’t indicative of the Renault’s deficiencies as it does the person sitting behind its steering wheel. Seems like it wasn’t the best performance of that driver.

A subsequent brake test from 70 mph didn’t reveal anything out of the ordinary as the Golf R predictably came last with the 718 Boxster and the Megane Trophy almost stopping at the exact same spot. Give credit to Porsche’s well-heralded brakes and the Brembos on the Renault Megane Trophy.

Watch a Volkswagen Golf R Go Head-to-Head With a Porsche Boxster GTS and a Renault Megane Trophy RS
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So, which of these three performance cars would you want to own? For appeal’s sake, the Porsche 718 Boxster should be the winner on the grounds of it being a Porsche. That’s all there is to it, really. But don’t sleep on the all-wheel drive Volkswagen Golf R and the front-wheel drive Renault Megane Trophy. They’re not household names compared to the Porsche, but each model proved that they could go toe-to-toe with one of the finest cars Porsche has to offer today. It certainly helps that the Megane Trophy (£33,510 ($42,300)) and the Volkswagen Golf R ($40,395) are much cheaper options than the Porsche 718 Boxster GTS ($80,850).

Volkswagen Golf R Porsche 718 Boxster GTS Renault Megane Trophy
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
Horsepower 300 horsepower 365 horsepower 300 horsepower
Torque 295 pound-feet 317 pound-feet of torque 295 pound-feet
Transmission six-speed manual (standard) / seven-speed automatic (optional) PDK dual-clutch transmission six-speed manual transmission
Drivetrain all-wheel drive rear-wheel drive front-wheel drive
0 to 60 mph time 4.5 seconds 3.9 seconds 5.7 seconds
Top speed 153 mph 180 mph 158 mph

Further reading

2017 Volkswagen Golf R - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full driven review on the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R.

All Changes Contrived by Renault Sport To Brew The Hardcore Megane RS Trophy Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Renault Mégane R.S. Trophy.

2018 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS Wallpaper quality Exterior
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20-inch wheels finished in matte black

Read our full review on the 2018 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS.

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