Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Renaultsport ready to attack the 'Ring with new Mégane 275 Trophy

Renault Mégane RS 275 Trophy

Competition improves the breed. So goes the old saying, but if there's ever been an example of that axiom put into action, surely it's the new Renault Mégane RS 275 Trophy.

The story of Renaultsport's latest hot hatch starts in 2008 when the French automaker lapped the Nürburgring in 8:16.9 with the stripped-out Mégane R26.R. That record went pretty much unchallenged until Renault itself raised the bar even further with the new Mégane Trophy in 2011 with a lap time of 8:07.9. Then the competition started taking note. Honda started talking about beating the record with its upcoming Civic Type R, but Seat is the one that knocked Renault off the top of the leaderboard with its 7:58.4 in the new Leon Cupra 280.

Renault wasn't happy, but set about rising to the challenge when it proclaimed a thinly veiled threat to clock a sub-8-minute lap time of its own, teasing its development thereafter. And this is the vehicle with which it intends to do so.

The new Mégane Trophy improves upon the record-setter from 2011 with more power and more serious equipment. The 2.0-liter turbo four has been massaged to produce an extra ten horses for a total of 275 horsepower and and 265 pound-feet of torque. Akrapovic provided a new titanium exhaust system. Michelin developed a special set of Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. Öhlins is providing the adjustable dampers. Renault's even fitted the upgraded Cup chassis and limited slip differential as standard, and upgraded the aero and interior in the process.

We'll have to wait until June 16 to see how Renault's most extreme hot hatch yet fares on the Nordschleife, but we have a feeling the French wouldn't be talking smack if it didn't think it could rise to the challenge (or indeed already had).
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