Straight-line sprints aren’t the forte of the Renault Sport Megane Trophy-R, yet it’s still the quickest production front-driver MOTOR has ever tested.
The Trophy-R is built for corners, which is why it’s the current front-drive lap record around the Nürburgring Nordschleife, However, the recipe that’s made it so successful on track – more power, less weight – nevertheless also helps its acceleration numbers.
Compared to the standard Megane RS280, outputs increase by 15W/10Nm to 220kW/400Nm as well as using a ceramic ball-bearing turbo for quicker response. As such, Renault claims a remarkable 5.4sec for the 0-100km/h sprint.
For reference, the quickest numbers we’ve ever recorded from a front-driver are 0-100km/h in 5.68sec and a 13.66sec quarter mile at 174.92km/h in the Honda Civic Type R. The Renault gains the upper hand, but only by the narrowest of margins.
The Megane sneaks ahead to 100km/h (5.66) before its 100-odd kilogram diet helps it open the gap ever so slightly over the quarter mile, clocking 13.60sec at 175.31km/h. Remarkable numbers for a front-drive hot hatch, but there’s more in it.
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The Trophy-R is a very difficult car to launch, but not for the reasons you might expect. Traction is strong enough to contain the power, but there are all sorts of electronic protections working against you achieving the perfect launch.
Launch control doesn’t dial up enough revs (using it resulted in 0-100km/h times of 6.0sec) but even without it the ECU will only allow around 3000rpm at a standstill. Attempt to drop the clutch and the engine will bog, so the only option is to increase the revs as much as possible, slip the clutch to get it off the line and then change gears as quickly as possible.
There’s a certain degree of trial and error in the process; nail the perfect combination of inputs and it seems feasible our times could be improved by a tenth or so. For a complete rundown of the new Megane Trophy-R beyond just its straight-line acceleration, read our first drive review.