Renaultsport Megane 250

Flagship hatch turns up the heat

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

If you can’t put up with the stiff ride in the Renaultsport Mégane Cup, the 250 could be just the ticket. It delivers 99 per cent of the fun of the stripped-out entry-level model, but adds a welcome dose of comfort. Better still, it features a more luxurious cabin with a long list of standard kit. However, if you must have the ultimate in hot hatch driving dynamics, together with the well appointed range-topping interior, you can add the Cup chassis for an extra £1,200.

If Renault’s Mégane GT diesel is a bit soft and slow for you, the firm’s tuning arm could have the answer. The tweaked and tuned Renaultsport Mégane 250 three-door is one of the sharpest and fastest hot hatches on the block.

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We’ve already been impressed by the hardcore, entry-level Cup model, which delivers intoxicating driver thrills that trump cars costing twice as much. But does the more expensive and luxurious range-topping version serve up the same winning formula? Auto Express got behind the wheel of one of the first to hit UK soil to find out.

As with the Cup model, the 250 leaves passers-by in no doubt about its performance potential. The sleek lines are given extra impact by an aggressive black-painted nose, chunky wheelarch extensions and large tailgate spoiler. Our car wore eye-catching optional 19-inch Speedline alloy wheels, which add more visual menace.

Inside, the Mégane is packed with sporty touches. There’s a thick-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel, drilled aluminium pedals and bold yellow rev counter. Spend an extra £950, and you get a pair of comfortable, figure-hugging optional Recaro front sports seats.

Prod the starter button and the 248bhp 2.0-litre turbo burbles into life. The smooth and torquey engine is identical to the unit found in the Cup version, and blasts the Mégane from 0-62mph in only 6.1 seconds.

In fact, the only clue that you’re in the top-of-the-range Renaultsport is the ride, which is much more comfortable. It’s still firm, but for most owners the set-up will make the 250 a more cosseting daily companion. Fortunately, the car’s soft side hasn’t come at the expense of handling.

As you’d expect, there is a huge amount of grip, terrific poise and incredible agility. Traction is strong out of slower corners, too, even though the 250 features an electronic limited-slip differential in place of the more effective mechanical version in the Cup model. Adding to the appeal are the standard Brembo brakes, which serve up eye-popping and fade-free stopping power.

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