This special-edition Renaultsport Megane RB8 was built to help Renault and Red Bull Racing celebrate winning the the F1 championship in 2012. Only 30 cars were made and Auto Express took to the wheel of one to find out what makes this car special.
You won’t get any F1-style performance upgrades – this car uses exactly the same chassis and 261bhp 2.0-litre turbo as every other Renaultsport Megane 265 Cup. However, the RB8 does get 19-inch gloss black alloys, plus a set of stickier Bridgestone Potenza tyres – usually a £1,000 extra. You wouldn’t say they transform the driving experience, but they definitely add a subtle layer of extra ability to a car already established as one of the best hot hatches on sale.
There’s a bit of extra bite in corners, a little less wheelspin off the line and a bit more stability on the brakes. The steering is as quick and direct as ever, the handling just as involving, and – unfortunately – the ride just as firm. It’s not a major complaint, because you do get behind the wheel expecting a firm ride, but with the new Golf GTI so supple we’ve come to expect a bit more luxury from modern hot hatches.
You’re never left wishing for more power, though, because the 2.0-litre turbo picks up quickly, capable of launching the car from 0-62mph in six seconds flat. You can try and match that by recording it through the standard R-Link Renaultsport Monitor (normally £900), which also displays G-force readings and tracks 0-1000m times. It’s a nice gadget to have, especially as it now includes the R-Link store for downloading apps on the go.
There’s a fantastic set of part-leather Recaro seats, too, which are extremely supportive and comfortable. Even round the tightest corners you feel securely locked in place.
The Red Bull link comes from logos on the seat headrests, door sills and the floormats, but it’s not too tacky. The exterior tweaks are classy as well, including a Twilight Blue paint job with contrasting platinum accents – just like the RB8 F1 car – and a few Red Bull stickers.
At £28,245, the Megane RB8 is a fair amount more expensive than a standard Cup, which costs £25,545. Add the Recaros, the 19-inch alloys, metallic paint and RS Monitor to that price, though, and it’ll come out at £29,240 – almost £1,000 more expensive, and without the RB8’s exclusivity.