RenaultSport Megane 250 Cup

We hit the track to get the best out of Renaultsport flier

  • Getting on a circuit allowed me to play with the optional Renaultsport monitor (£300) for the first time. By scrolling through its numerous display screens, you can sharpen throttle response and observe performance data, including cornering g-forces and pedal pressures.
  • YES, the optional Recaro seats impress at the track, where they offer loads of side support and hold you firmly in place. However, on the road they become uncomfortable over long distances – your legs go numb after a while. The seats are narrow, too.

THERE have been a few frustrations with our Mégane 250, but our relationship is finally on track! In the last update, I mentioned that the limpet-like grip and rock-solid composure make our bright yellow hatch hard to enjoy on the public road. As a result, I’ve been itching to drive it on a circuit.

I missed Renaultsport’s final 2010 owner track day, but with the Mégane entered in our Performance Car of the Year test, a trip to north Wales’ Anglesey Circuit saved the day.

The drive to the picturesque venue reminded me just how uncomfortable the seats are on long trips. Also, the Cup chassis’ stiffer springs and dampers make the motorway ride too firm. So, would all this be worth the effort?

Well, as I hit some twisty roads the superb body control, linear power delivery and sharp steering reminded me just why I love the Renault. And once on the track, the Mégane came into its own. The ability to carry speed through the fast corners, the stopping power of the Brembo brakes and the traction provided by the limited-slip diff out of tight bends all impressed.

It was my job to set lap times at our performance shoot-out, so I strapped the timing gear into the Renault. Impressively, it was quicker around the twisty circuit than the Volkswagen Golf R, SEAT Leon Cupra R and Peugeot RCZ THP 200. In fact, in four years of using this venue, the Ford Focus RS was the only quicker front-wheel-drive car.

So the Mégane impressed on track, but as a daily driver I’ve still to be convinced. On the right road I love it, yet that chassis demands comfort compromises. The car has been reliable, though, and aside from a faulty daylight running lamp, the only problem has been a cracked screen courtesy of a stone thrown up by a truck. And you don’t get many of those on a track!

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