2019 Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R
The Trophy-R is the most hardcore Megane Renault ever createdby Andrei Nedelea, on
The 2019 Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R is about as close as it gets to being the cap stone for the front-wheel drive hot hatch pyramid. It is the most extreme version of the current Megane RenaultSport and it makes the regular model look tame and watered down by comparison.
It is the even more extreme version of the Megane R.S. 300 Trophy, which, in turn, is more hardcore than the base Megane RenaultSport. The 300 Trophy already has plenty of go-faster mods, such as a standard Torsen limited-slop differential, a stiffer suspension setup complete with trick dampers that feature a hydraulic bumptstop, as well as bigger brakes and extra power extracted out of its 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder.
The Trophy-R takes things a step further: most of its performance gain comes from the weight shedding of 130 kilograms (286 pounds) and some enhanced aero. Renault engineers also removed the 4Control four-wheel steering system not only to make the car lighter, but to also give it a more consistent feel when driven quickly around a track. This and other mods result is a car that currently holds the front-wheel drive lap record around the Nurburgring Nordschleife, which is no surprise, because that’s what it was designed to do (and also be the quickest and most focused vehicle of its type).
It’s also definitely got future classic written all over it. Only 500 examples will be made, all with a manual six-speed gearbox, stripped out interior (with a deleted back seat) and unique graphics. The high asking price might put some off it, but for those hardcore enthusiasts who are willing to spend more than 50 percent more on a Trophy-R than they would on the regular RenaultSport Megane (in order for the car to come fitted with the Nürburgring Record Pack), the difference will be worth it.
2019 Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R
Horsepower @ RPM:296 @ 6000
Torque @ RPM:295 @ 3200
0-60 time:5.4 sec.
Top Speed:163 mph
- Only available in "mother-of-pearl" white
- Red decals, wheels and details make it easily distinguishable
- Carbon fiber wheels look fantastic with the optional brakes
You won’t mistake the 2019 Renault Megane R.S Trophy-R with any lesser Megane, that’s for sure.
All 500 Trophy-Rs will be white with unique red decals. The color finish itself isn’t the usual “refrigerator” white, but a special shade Renault calls “mother-of-pearl.”
The color suits the car very well, and the red graphics (unique to this model) help it make a strong visual impact. The same red color as on the livery is carried over to the five-twin-spoke 19-inch rims, as well as the blade detail on the front bumper. It all looks properly race car-like, and with a big wing on the back (which you cannot get from the factory, but I’m sure there are aftermarket solutions), it would look like touring car.
The basic front bumper design is exactly the same as on other hot Meganes.
But the red blade is a dead giveaway that this is the Trophy-R, along with the cold air intake that sucks in extra air through where the left LED fog light used to be. If you spot this, then what you’re looking at is a Trophy-R equipped with the Nürburgring Record Pack; it also removes the right fog light assembly, but in this case it’s just blank - there’s no ducting to take the air into the intake.
RenaultSport also created a special engine hood for the Trophy-R. Made out of a carbon composite material, it features a visible NACA inlet and slats on either side.
From the side, the red decal that extends from the lower part of the front doors upward to the C-pillar is really visible and it gives the car a unique look. It also has a big “Trophy-R” sticker on the front fender, a detail that will leave onlookers in no doubt as to what just burbled by.
The standard red wheels are also a really striking stylistic choice (and they don’t seem out of place among all the other red details), but they can be upgraded to full carbon fiber wheels that make the car look a bit more subtle and like even more serious piece of kit at the same time (they also save a total of 8 kilograms or 18 pounds over the standard wheels). If the car has the Nürburgring Record Pack, then it also comes with bigger rotors clasped by striking gold-finished Brembo calipers.
The rear end is equally distinctive, thanks to a wide diffuser that spans nearly the entire lower part of the bumper.
This, like the unique Trophy-R hood, is made from carbon composite and, unlike lesser Megane R.S. models, it doesn’t have an ornament around the central exhaust - here, it just pokes out through an opening in the middle of the diffuser, right under the Akrapovič logo. No special badges are present on the back, but that purposeful looking diffuser will instantly tell you what you’re looking at.
- Has one-piece Sabelt sports seats
- Alcantara steering wheel
- Only available with the smaller infotainment screen
Some of the weight-saving achieved by engineers on the Trophy-R stems from the fact that it features a stripped-out interior. It’s dominated by heavily-contoured, one-piece Sabelt seats covered suede (that can be optionally fitted with a six-point harness), an Alcantara-lined steering wheel and some contrasting red details that really pop against the mostly dark grey interior.
Renault decided to ditch the back seat of the Megane Trophy-R in order to reduce weight.
In its place is a bright red tower-to-tower brace and a net that separates the trunk area from where the rear passengers would normally have been. In the trunk, the standard liner has been replaced by a special one that features the “R” from Trophy-R - you won’t be able to miss it when opening the hatch.
You can only get the 2019 Renault Megane Trophy-R with the smaller 7-inch infotainment screen. This measure was taken in the extreme quest for weight reduction (says Renault), but the functions are all there (especially the R.S. Monitor that displays performance data and telemetry). It also has the added benefit of not forcing the user to interact with the (not especially responsive) touchscreen to operate the climate controls - the Trophy-R has the simpler and more traditional buttons and knobs.
What is a big strange about the interior makeover is that you don’t usually see five-door cars with no rear seat from the factory.
Sure, Renault does offer the R.S. 300 Trophy that does have a back seat (and the Trophy-R is a track day special), but it’s something unusual - when you open its rear doors, you are greeted with extra storage, so that, I guess, makes the Trophy-R the most practical non-wagon Megane when it comes to cargo capacity.
Joking aside, this is actually a great place to store four full-sized wheels with slick tires which you’d be able to take to the track with you on the weekends.
- Doesn’t make more power than the regular RenaultSport Megane Trophy
- Is 130 kilos/286 pounds lighter
- Ditches 4Control four-wheel steering to reduce weight, improve handling consistency
Renault hasn’t given the 2019 Megane R.S. Trophy-R any extra power over the standard Trophy. That means its 1.9-liter turbocharged engine makes the same 296 horsepower (300 PS) at 6,000 rpm, with a peak torque rating of 400 Nm (295 pound-feet) at 3,200 rpm. It’s not an especially high-revving unit, but it does provide strong acceleration given that the Trophy-R is 130 kilograms (286 pounds) lighter than the standard hot Megane - weight therefore drops from 1,419 kilograms (3,128 pounds) to 1,289 kilograms (2,841 pounds).
In order to achieve the aforementioned weight figure, you need to opt for a lithium-ion battery that sheds 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) and the carbon wheels that in total shed an additional 8 kilograms (18 pounds). These wheels are a must-have in our book because while the weight saving they provide overall isn’t especially significant, you need to keep in mind this is unsprung weight and losing unsprung weight in a car does greatly benefit handling and control.
The Trophy-R sprints to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 5.4 seconds, a very impressive performance for any front-wheel drive car; it slashes three tenths off the 300 Trophy’s sprint time. Third-gear acceleration from 80 to 120 km/h (50 to 74.5 mph) is achieved in 2.9 seconds, according to Renault (the standard Trophy requires 3.1 seconds). Top speed is increased from 260 km/h (161.5 mph) to 262 km/h (163 mph).
|Horsepower||296 HP @ 6,000 RPM|
|Torque||295 LB-FT @ 3,200 RPM|
|0 to 100 km/h||5.4 seconds|
|Top Speed||262 km/h (163 mph)|
One major change that transforms the way the Trophy-R drives compared to the Trophy is the removal of the 4Control rear-wheel steering system. This system grants the regular Megane R.S. and the Trophy incredible agility and you can really thread one of those up a very sinuous mountain mass without a sweat - the driver applies less lock and the car is just more eager to turn in.
But for the Trophy-R, RenaultSport took a bold step and removed it completely. The reasons cited were the shedding of weight (deleting 4Control saves 34 kilograms or 75 pounds) and the desire to grant the car with a more consistent feel when driven close to the limit for prolonged stints. This is definitely a good thing, because while the Megane R.S. feels sharp to drive, the steering isn’t as communicative or predictable as you’d like - there is some on-center vagueness, part of which is caused by 4Control.
Out on the track, the keen drivers will probably appreciate the more simple front-axle-only steering setup. Sure, the car will be a bit less agile and they’ll have to apply more lock through corners, and have to contend with a larger turning circle, yet the improved sharpness will definitely make up for these shortcomings.
Even so, the removal of 4Control doesn’t completely cure the Megane R.S. of the dead zone around the center point that some drivers have noticed - it is reduced, but rivals like the Honda Civic Type-R and Ford Focus ST have better, more precise steering racks.
This is a minor niggle, because even in the partial absence of feel, the Trophy-R is still a hoot to drive and ridiculously capable in corners. Let’s not forget it’s the front-wheel-drive record holder not only around the Nürburgring Nordschleife, but also around Spa Francorchamps.
|Lap Time||Horsepower||Torque (lb-ft)||Curb weight (lbs)||power-to-weight (hp:lbs)|
|2019 Renault Megane RS Trophy-R||07:40.1||292||295||2815||0.10:1|
|2017 Honda Civic Type R||07:43.8||306||295||3150||0.097:1|
|2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S||07:49.2||310||280||2998||0.10:1|
|2014 Honda Civic Type R||07:50.6||306||295||2910||0.105:1|
|2014 Ranault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy-R||07:54.4||271||266||2859||0.09:1|
|2014 Seat Leon Cupra||07:58.4||276||258||3075||0.089:1|
Renault says the Trophy-R has a lot more downforce than the regular Trophy, thanks to a special lower bumper blade (the mini-splitter under the bumper), underbody fairings and the all-important diffuser that helps channel air from under the car.
Cars equipped with the Nürburgring Record Pack feature beefed up brakes with massive 390-millimeter rotors up front (increased from the standard 355-millimeter) and noticeable gold Brembo calipers to set them apart. These are another option you want because they not only give the car a unique visual signature, but also improve its braking performance.
Another major point where the Trophy-R has been enhanced compared to the regular Trophy is its suspension. Renault says it employed “a totally bespoke suspension system featuring revised geometry and Ohlins adjustable dampers.” It has more front camber to improve the tire contact patch during cornering and the adjustable Ohlins dampers always improve any car they equip - they have now become a traditional part fitted to the most extreme RenaultSport products.
Also unique to the Trophy-R is an Akrapovič exhaust system that does make the car a bit louder and more raucous, but it’s not excessively loud and far from being obnoxious. The Hyundai i30 N, by contrast, is noticeably louder and more brash sounding.
The 2019 Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R is not cheap. In France, the base price for one is €55,000 (some €10,000 more expensive than the 300 Trophy and nearly €17,000 more than the base R.S.). However, the Trophy-R you really want is the one equipped with the Nürburgring Record Pack, and that pushes the price past the €70,000 mark, a ridiculous amount for a front-wheel drive hot hatch, so I’m sure not all cars will come fitted with it.
It’s very hard to ignore the Honda Civic Type R, even if you are a fan of RenaultSport models. The current Type R is more powerful than the Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R (316 horsepower), almost as fast around the Nürburgring (its laptime is just over 3 seconds slower than the Trophy-R’s) and, by most accounts, a better car to drive - it certainly has better steering, a more positive and direct gear shift and when driven hard around a track, it has a more planted, stable feel than the Renault.
Some may not like the way it looks, as there are some exaggerated exterior design features, but most of the mad exterior add-ons do serve an aerodynamic purpose. Inside, it’s really not that special, other than the seats (which it has to be emphasized are some of the best sports seats in any car at any price), so when you’re not on it, it feels about as docile as a normal Civic. And do keep in mind that the Civic Type R is just the ‘base’ version, with all the comfort features you could want; it’s not the stripped out track-focused variant like the Megane is and, even though it’s considered expensive, it’s still cheaper than the Trophy-R.
Read our full driven review on the Honda Civic Type R
RaceChip Hyundai i30N
Who would have thought, not more than five years ago, that Hyundai would be making a world-class hot hatch... Yet here it is, the i30N, a proper first entry into the segment. Sure, it’s not perfect and not quite as powerful as either the Trophy-R or the Type R, yet it’s just really likable. It has great balance when you throw it into corners, it sounds more like a race car than either of the two and it’s probably easier to live with too.
Hyundai doesn’t make a more hardcore factory version of it (yet, although one is known to be in the works), but a company called RaceChip will comprehensively modify your i30N and what results is about as fast as the Civic or the Megane. Power is upped by 45 horsepower (to 316 horsepower) and torque is increased quite significantly (by 146 Nm / 108 pound feet to 524 Nm / 387 pound-feet). RaceChip also offers lightweight OZ wheels as well as lowered, stiffened Eibach suspension for about €5,000, which if you factor in the car’s starting price, is still very reasonable.
So until Hyundai reveals the more track-focused i30N, this is a great and rather cheeky way to get behind the wheel of a monster front-wheel drive hot hatch.
Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai i30 N.
Since Renault is only making 500 Megane R.S. Trophy-Rs, it will definitely sell each and every one of them to enthusiasts and collectors. The car itself is dominated by its headline figure - the fact that it’s a Nürburgring record holder for FWD cars - but as a practical proposition, it’s kind of hard to justify. For most people, the cheaper, less extreme Trophy model is all the hot hatch they’re ever going to need and they can order that with the pretty decent automatic gearbox.
The Trophy-R is an interesting proposition, but you really have to either be an avid RenaultSport aficionado who simply must add this model to the collection, or buy it as a weekend track day toy. It’s nowhere near as practical to drive every day as its more laid back Megane R.S. counterparts, so it really addresses a very small group of select car guys (who will, I’m sure, absolutely love it).
Being a limited edition model with some modifications that you can’t get on any other Megane R.S., it will probably hold its value better than lesser Megane R.S. models, but I stsdsdill wouldn’t call it an investment. If you buy the one with all the options boxes ticked, you’re looking at a price tag of around €70,000 - that’s ridiculous, even considering all the special stuff it has on it.
On top of all this, it’s not the most fun hot hatch you can buy, or the best looking, or the most desirable, at least in my book. Its steering and gear shifter feel are not as good as some rivals’ and for many, this will be a deciding factor in the decision to buy one or not. So regardless of how much weight is shed, how grippy the tires, or how stripped out the interior is, if the driving experience can be topped in another car, enthusiasts will see out that other car (which may not be as full-on fast as the Trophy-R) because they will enjoy driving it more. It’s that simple.
Read our full review on the 2018 Renault Mégane R.S. Trophy.
Read our full review on the 2018 Renault Megane R.S.
Read our full review on the 2014 Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy.
Read our full review on the 2016 Renault Megane GT.
Read our full review on the 2017 Renault Megane Sedan.