2019 Renault Megane RS 280 EDC
“Everybody knows that Renault make the best hot hatches,” that’s how the initial Wheels review of the Renault Megane RS 280 started. While the French hot hatch has myriad positive attributes, that sentiment is, seemingly, no longer taken as fact. It’s safe to say that the new Renault Megane RS 280 hasn’t quite been welcomed with the rapturous applause the generation before it left with.
Still, for $47,490 you get a 205kW/390Nm, front-wheel-drive hot hatch with a pretty slick EDC (Efficient Dual-Clutch) automatic transmission. Opt for the manual and the price drops to $44,990.
But don’t do that. Call it sacrilege for a motoring title to say, but the auto is the better option, giving the RS more aural theatre and a higher sensation of speed. The six-speed manual’s gear change is a little lacklustre.
The third-generation RS is a bit of a victim of its previous success. Failing to beat itself is the Megane’s biggest undoing. Still, stop looking to the past and there’s heavily bolstered seats to sink into, menacing GT3-esque styling, a punchy 1.8-litre turbo four (shared with Alpine A110) and 4Control rear-wheel steering. With loads of grip the Megane is fast on track, plus extend the RS 280 to its limits and it truly comes alive.
2015 BMW M135i
The BMW has the right mix of brawn and talent to make it a true hot-hatch hero. And with the switch to four-cylinder power and all-wheel-drive, the time is nigh to get your hands on this unique package. Packing 240kW/450Nm from the N55 3.0-litre inline six, the rear-wheel-drive Bavarian is the epitome of bang for your bucks, while still retaining the badge cachet to impress the neighbours.
Despite only being a 2015 vintage, and with the LCI updates, the interior of the M135i can be a letdown for some and the rear-wheel-drive layout compromises space in the back. Unlike the Renault, which is generally praised for its exterior design, the 1 Series doesn’t enjoy the same reputation. It’s divisive – especially in the Wheels office.
Of course, you could also buy an M140i and enjoy the brilliant B58 straight six, but they’re harder to come by within the price parameters of this matchup. Be patient and search for the F20 LCI update with an optioned limited-slip diff (it was a $4400 premium when new). It’s not a deal-breaker if you don’t have the latter, but you’ll be glad you have it. Overall, the M135i is a hot-hatch package that’s hard to pass up.
|2019 Renault Megane RS||2015 BMW M135i|
|Engine||2.0L 4cyl turbo||3.0L 6cyl turbo|
|Transmission||6spd dual-clutch||8spd auto|
|Wheel size||245/35 R19||
225/40 ZR18 (f)
245/35 ZR18 (r)
|Country of origin||France||Germany|