Friday Photo – Frankfurt 2015 Gallery

This year’s Frankfurt Motor Show proved to be fairly impressive, with a host of big names revealing new products and concepts. Incredibly, this even included cars that hadn’t been previewed in a press release weeks beforehand! Who knew that was still possible? We’ve picked out some of the notable cars making an appearance in Germany. 

2015 Frankfurt

ESM actually spent the first Frankfurt press day helping out the good people at Motoring Research with their live blog. We heartily recommend you go and read it, especially for the Periscope video action from Andrew and Gav. Trust us, you’ll find yourself longing for a special edition Suzuki Jimny or at least learning where not to leave you bag on a motor show stand.

Possibly the biggest talking point of the whole Frankfurt show was the Bentley Bentayga SUV. Promising to be more luxurious than a Range Rover, but with epic performance from a W12 engine, it’s a pretty big deal. To some it’s a step too far for the Bentley brand, and the styling is also equally divisive. However, ESM is pretty sold on it – especially in orange. The Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo is just as mental in real life as in the initial photos – a definite showstopper. Oh, and yes that is a tent on the back of the Citroen Cactus M.

We’d already seen PR photos of the Ferrari 488 Spider, but it’s seemingly even more impressive in the metal. Some even going so far as to say it’s better looking than the GTB coupé. The Hyundai stand was one of contrasts, with the Korean company pushing its new “N” performance sub-brand with the rather mental 2025 Gran Turismo concept, alongside the Santa Fe and i20 Active. Jaguar’s F-Pace stole the pre-show excitement with a Guinness World Record-breaking launch event, whilst the MotoGP-engined Honda 2&4 concept proved to be a winner.


2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed – The Racers Gallery

Whilst the Festival of Speed has grown to become the de facto British motor show, it’s still all about the epic racing cars that tackle the hill climb course. Our second 2015 gallery features some of the exotic and expensive machinery found in the paddock.

2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed Racers 007

A whole class was dedicated to the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR this year. An awful lot of money under one tent.


2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed – Moving Motor Show Gallery

ESM has been to the Goodwood Festival of Speed before – the last time back in 2012 – but this year was a little different. 

2015 Goodwood Festival of SpeedIt started with a letter from the Earl of March inviting ESM to the Festival of Speed as a fully fledged member of the media. It ended with driving almost 700 miles in 30 hours in order to spend just one day there but, when the Earl of March invites you, it’d be rude not to make an appearance.

2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Esso liveried retro Toyota GT86 was our favourite

In Festival of Speed tradition, we’ve broken the galleries down into batches. This first one covers the cars of the Moving Motor Show, while the second and third will include the iconic racers and findings from around the festival respectively. The Moving Motor Show has become a big part of the Festival of Speed, giving the public the change to pilot a wide range of cars up the famous hill climb course. So from the meagre, to the mighty, all the below could be driven.


SMMT Test Day 2015 – One day, Twelve cars [Part 2/3]

Round two of our SMMT 2015 mega-test continues, with a further batch of four cars. By mid-morning had we picked any more winners from the 170 on offer? Part one can be found here, if you need to read that first.


As a way to build up an appetite for lunch, two performance Renaults and a new MINI aren’t a bad workout. A soft-top Audi TT added an alternative slant on things.

Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy
2015 Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy 001
Some cars come with a large amount of hype surrounding them, and a Renaultsport product has to carry the substantial weight of expectation from motoring journalists on those French shoulders. Quite simply, the 275 Trophy cashed in over every single cheque written by it, to the point of ridiculousness.

2015 Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy 002
It probably helped that the guy from Renault made sure to put it ‘into Sport mode’ before we’d even left the steering pad. Even after the WRX STI, it became clear very quickly just how special the 275 Trophy is, with the Millbrook hill route suiting it perfectly.

The handling was as direct and precise as you could wish for in a sub-£30k hot-hatch, with such feel that you could really push the 275 Trophy with confidence. Renaultsport is keen to attract the track-day market, and there was no doubt this car would make an excellent ‘arrive-and-drive’ option.

However, the best bit had to be the Akrapovič titanium exhaust system, with a lovely bass note topped by pops and crackles on the overrun. With 271bhp, acceleration was suitably strong and the six-speed manual gearbox tight and precise.

2015 Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy 003

Carbon fibre exhaust tip!

It’s worth noting that, bucket seats and Alcantara steering wheel aside, the interior is nothing special. But such is the depth of talent in the 275 Trophy that this can be overlooked. In short, we didn’t want to give it back, and are still quietly pining for it right now.

ESM Rating 9.5/10
Stats: £28,930, 2.0-litre I4 turbo, 271bhp/273lb-ft torque, 0-62mph 5.8 secs, 159mph top speed

Renault Mégane Sport Tourer GT 220
2015 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer GT 220 001

Up until a few weeks ago, we didn’t even know this car existed. Yet, weirdly, it’s been on the Renault fleet for a while. Given the rising popularity for fast estates, the Sport Tourer GT 220 could be a real contender. (more…)

Megane Renaultsport 275 Trophy-R claims Nürburgring record – Spec and Photos

SEAT might have thought they had the production FWD Nürburgring lap record in the bag with the new Leon Cupra. But, not one to be beaten, Renault have reclaimed their crown with an even more modified version of the Megane 275 Trophy; the Trophy-R.

2014 Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy-R 001

What does the ‘R‘ stand for? Who knows; racing, ‘ring, really quick? Either way, it doesn’t matter. Putting that aside for one minute, on the 15th May 2014 Laurent Hurgon drove the 275 Trophy-R to a record lap of 7 minutes 54.36 seconds – some 4.44 seconds faster than the Leon Cupra’s time. Does 4 seconds really matter over a 13 mile circuit, and does it have any real relevance to normal driving? We’re not sure yet, but let us indulge Renault for the time being.

2014 Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy-R 003To take back ‘its’ record, Renaultsport went to town on the already modified 275 Trophy which we featured last month. It keeps the same tweaked 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, making 271 bhp and 257 lb-ft of torque in sport or race mode. Along with that ECU upgrade for more power, there are trick Öhlins adjustable dampers, bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres and a limited slip differential.

2014 Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy-R 002

But it’s more about what the Trophy-R has lost, rather than gained; it’s been on a diet to remove 100 kg compared to the regular Renaultsport Megane, for a kerb weight of just 1,280 kg. So just how exactly has Renaultsport carved so much from a 1,381 kg hatchback? With this shopping list of savings: (more…)

Mégane RenaultSport 275 Trophy – Renault wants its record back

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.

2014 Renaultsport Megane 275 Trophy 001

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.

2014 Renaultsport Megane 275 Trophy 002

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.

2014 Renaultsport Megane 275 Trophy 003

As standard, Akrapovič (more…)

What did we learn from the 2014 Geneva Motor Show?

Here at EngageSportMode we’ve brought you a veritable banquet of new cars in the space of one short week. You can find all our coverage here, but with the dust settling and the return to normality, we’re left pondering just what did Geneva 2014 teach us about the state of the car industry?


Everything is now turbocharged
Be it from the smallest city car to the most powerful supercar, and everything in between, turbos are now seemingly commonplace in the pursuit of both performance and economy. With their ability to offer the witch craft combination of efficiency, compactness and added oomph the turbocharger is here to stay.

Biggest in terms of turbo news is the fact the Ferrari (more…)

Friday Photo #16 – Alfa Romeo 4C

Beauty is, apparently, in the eye of the beholder. So what exactly does that mean for the winner of the ‘Most Beautiful Car of the Year 2013’ award? Who knows, but Alfa Romeo are obviously pleased that their new sportscar picked up this award. 

2014 Alfa Romeo 4C 001

There is no denying that, apart from the rather geeky looking headlights – wrapped in carbon fibre they may be, but they’re still weird – the 4C is a genuinely pretty car. So pretty in fact that the judges at the 29th International Automobile Festival decided it was the best looking car to be launched last year, beating a short-list of the BMW 4-Series Coupé, Mercedes-Benz CLA and the Mazda 3. No, we’re not really sure how that last one sneaked on there either, but then the long-list also included the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Lexus IS300h! So actually, there was only one real contender which probably explains why the 4C took 41% of the votes.


Twingo Renaultsport 133 is no more

Answer this simple question: when was the last time you saw a Twingo Renaultsport on the road? Given that there’s only been 1,203 of them sold in the UK since 2008, I’m guessing your answer is probably…never?

Twingo Renaultsport 133 Cup Phase 1 001

Just over 1,200 cars in around five years is hardly groundbreaking, yet it seems somewhat difficult to comprehend given just how much praise then Renaultsport 133 received from the press. Evo magazine gave it four out five stars back in 2008, praising its “grippy, incisive” handling in Cup format, along with the “zingy throttle response” from the 131 bhp 1.6 litre engine. (more…)

F1 Inspired Road Car Specials

The new Renaultsport Megane Red Bull Racing RB8 featured recently isn’t the first, and is unlikely to be the last, road car linked to a Formula 1 racer. Here are five more with varying levels of motorsport credibility.

1. 2001 Fiat Seicento Sporting Schumacher Edition

Seicento Schumacher

Way back at the turn of the century, there was a German who dominated Formula 1, by winning championship after championship with consummate ease. He was also a little bit smug about it all. Sound familiar? (more…)