Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good This expensive looking car features a modern design, fantastic exterior styling, flared front and rear guards and a sporty coupe profile that ensures it will never be mistaken for a regular, run of the mill Megane hatchback. Some of the many highlights include LED running lights, an aggressive front splitter and a large central mounted exhaust outlet. All RS250s come with tough looking black wheels unless you choose blue and black paint, in which case they are matched with grey alloys. “The Cup” is standard with 18 inch alloys and the “Cup Trophee” with 19 inch unless buyers of the latter opt for a smoother ride and select the 18 inches.
Not so good A thick, sloping C-pillar hampers lane changing ability as there is not much ¾ visibility, and the uniquely styled 19 inch alloys didn’t sit well with most of the testers, although all were fans of the 18 inches.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good The interior of this car features a high quality dash design, showing that it’s finally let go of the bland interior of previous models. It feels nicely put together and the height adjustable seats help drivers into the correct driving position, although it could be improved by going lower again. The Cup grade features a lovely, leather sports steering wheel which is the perfect size in diameter and rim thickness, a chunky gear knob, and imitation carbon fibre dashboard trim - unfortunately it couldn’t be real in this price range. The more expensive Cup Trophee also features brilliantly grippy Recaro front seats, as well as a tyre pressure monitoring system, which is a good idea as we imagine that the standard 19 inch alloys would be rather expensive to replace.
Not so good Rear visibility is not good and it is difficult for passengers in the back seat to see out thanks to overly small second row windows and sloping rear roofline. If they weren’t claustrophobic when they got in they would be before they they got out.
Performance

Performance

Good The 2.0L turbocharged petrol engine produces a very healthy 184kW of power and 340Nm of torque. The sole gearbox is a six-speed manual which offers a lovely smooth shift. Thankfully with all this power going through the front wheels, the RS250 also comes with a limited slip differential. It has Impressive linear power delivery with no turbo lag. The Kerb weight of 1387kg is impressively low, and the front wheel drive system is remarkable – somehow it easily copes with all the power. Impressive stuff.
Not so good Gearbox throw is a little longer than ideal and the engine sounds flat. The soundtrack could definitely be more fun considering this is a hot hatch, but the trend in this segment is to provide greater levels of refinement, so Renault could argue that our point is outdated.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good Amazing levels of balance are on offer with this car’s brilliant dynamics resulting in an impressive ride quality. There is a definite lack of body roll even when cornering at serious speeds, and it handles poor road surfaces remarkably well. Stopping power is taken care of by superb Brembo four-piston brake callipers matched to extra large 340mm ventilated front discs and 290mm solid rear discs. This car stays poised at a level when almost all other cars have become ragged and twitchy. The steering offers good levels of feel and is remarkably free of torque-steer. Overall, the feeling is of an impressively refined yet still superbly dynamic hot hatch. It’s a big call but we’d say this is one of the best handling front-wheel-drive small cars ever.
Not so good One of our testers wished the steering was more direct and provided even more feedback.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good The Megane RS250 is refined to look at, sit in and drive, and stands up well against competition. The options include an Ambience pack which adds yellow and grey seats and yellow seatbelts!
Not so good For a small hatch (but we classify it as a coupe as it just looks so fantastic) the official combined fuel economy of 8.7L per 100kms is nothing to shout about, but considering the amount of power on offer it is still definitely acceptable.