Over the past few months we’ve heaped a lot of attention on the new SEAT Leon Cupra and the Spanish company’s claim on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife record lap time for a production front-wheel-drive car. SEAT took that prize from Renault who, it seems, don’t want to give it up lightly.
Enter the Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy. Yes 275 because, predictably, it’s now packing 275 French brake horsepowers under the bonnet compared to the 265 found in the last Trophy model, or the 250 in the regular RS Mégane.
But the 275 Trophy isn’t just about a slight fettling of the ECU to release some extra power. Oh no, Renaultsport have gone to town in offering parts from a huge list of aftermarket performance specialists. If ever a car needed a Fast & The Furious style ‘shopping list’ down the doors, it’s this one. It’d match with the bespoke silver side graphics and ‘Trophy’ branded front splitter.
As standard, Akrapovič supplies a lightweight, free-flowing, titanium exhaust system with added bark; something this seasons current F1 cars could use perhaps? It also fits a rather lovely carbon tail pipe to the end of that new exhaust. On the options list are; adjustable Öhlins Road & Track dampers, as used on the Mégane N4 Rally Car apparently, ultra grippy Michelin Sport Cup 2 tyres and 19″ lightweight Speedline Turini alloy wheels finished in black.
These options, in addition to the Limited Slip Differential fitted as part of the standard ‘Cup chassis’ upgrades are quite clearly aimed at making the 275 Trophy unstoppable on track.
Internally there’s some big Recaro bucket seats, finished in leather and Alcantara with red stitching. That red stitching also finds its way onto the rear bench seat, the Alcantara steering wheel and handbrake gaiter. Red stitching has, of course, been proven to be worth at least 0.05 of a second around the Nürburgring.
How much will the base car, and all those options, cost? We don’t know, Renault isn’t saying yet. Apparently we’ve all got to wait until the Goodwood Festival of Speed next month where the car will make its UK debut. However, we do know it’ll be sold in 20 countries, and the first deliveries are expected to be made in October.
Clearly the 275 Trophy isn’t a roll-caged, lightweight special like the R26R from 2008 was. The fact it’s potentially going to be faster than that extreme hatch, shows how far power and technology has come in a short space of time. Does a Nürburgring record really matter? In the grand scheme of things, to car enthusiasts, probably not. But to the general car-buying public, having a big title like the fastest FWD car around the Nordschleife is obviously marketing gold.
That is, of course, on the basis that Renaultsport manages to crack that 7 minutes 58 seconds time set by the Spaniards. June 16th is the date we’ll find out; in the mean time, here’s a teaser from the #UNDER8 trailer