There are many reasons for considering a Renault Megane RS 275 Premium; a car that captivated me within minutes of being behind the wheel.
It goes like the proverbial, looks good, is affordable and eats corners for breakfast.
It is, purely and simply a driver’s car.
And it has a wonderful raw edginess, that gets under your skin, and to me, is the essence of a true hot hatch.
From what I can tell, Renault has spent its money on the Megane RS 275 Premium in four areas: power, suspension, brakes and handling. They haven’t wasted any on frivolities like upping the audio or adding extra speeds to the aircon fan. It has been created for those who love driving.
The swoopy three-door coupé body, complete with its flared guards, front spoiler, rear diffuser, black alloy wheels, body kit and red Brembo brake calipers tells you this is no ordinary Renault Megané.
Inside the black interior, you sit in Body grabbing race seats that are clad in alcantara, but so good is their grip you’d swear they were covered in Velcro. In front of you is a beautifully-sized, thick-rimmed, steering wheel. There’s carbon look panels, red seatbelts and red stitching everywhere; a clear indication that it is a legitimate hot hatch. A large infotainment screen has all the usual applications, with one screen in ‘RS’ mode that opens up detailed vehicle status in real-time and track focused tabs including a stopwatch. The back seat is very tight fit and with the tapered back windows, a bit claustrophobic. And there isn’t much of a view out the back window either.
But the biggest consideration for shelling out $52,990 (+ORC) is a button on the dash marked ‘RS’, which really should be changed to ‘PURCHASE’, because when you press it, the Megane RS 275 Premium goes ballistic, intensifying the engine, gearbox, suspension, steering and your senses.
In ‘RS’ mode when you you plant your foot its specially tuned exhaust turns fumes into an electrifying howl, especially at high revs. It backfires between gear shifts and when you downshift, it bangs and burbles like a proper race car.
Although it grudgingly trawls through the suburbs without much effort; like a caged animal, it yearns for its open spaces. Finding a deserted open all to yourself, is paradise.
Its brilliant chassis, powerhouse turbo four engine and snappy shifting six-speed gearbox is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Even the pedals are perfectly placed to blip the throttle on downshifts.
The Megane RS 275 Premium is fast with a capital ‘F’ and with 201 kilowatts and 360 newton metres on tap, punches it deep into three figures, with pulse racing enthusiasm.
Its wide stance, a wheel on the edge of each corner, mechanical limited slip diff and body shaking ultra firm ride makes it handle like a go kart; flat, composed, inspiring, assuring and totally addictive.
There is a hint of torque steer when you nail the throttle out of corners, that reminds you to treat it with respect and in every way it flatters the driver and eggs you on to push harder. This means that at times the brakes get a fair workout and they do a stellar job of rapidly washing off speed with a solid, progressive feel.
Practicality is a two-edged sword with the 275 Premium. Being a hatch it will carry anything from a back pack to a bicycle but being a three-door means getting in and out of the back requires a good level of agility.
On the safety front it has a five-star ANCAP rating with all the up-to-the-minute safety features. You also get a five year unlimited kilometre warranty with roadside assist.
The Renault Megané RS 275 Premium isn’t for everyone; but for those who love their driving you won’t be disappointed. And for what you get and most importantly, how it makes you feel, I’d say it is a bargain.