Renault Megane RS 280 review

Renault Megane
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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Does Renault’s hot-hatchback leave us feeling cold or burning with delight?

By motoring journalist Tim Barnes-Clay. Follow on Instagram @tbarnesclay and Twitter @carwriteups.

The ordinary Megane has been hanging about for four years, but we were kept waiting for the hot Renaultsport (RS) version. And when it turned up last year, the agreement was that it worth drumming your fingers for.

Even though the three-door motor has been swapped for a five-door model, the Megane RS has the same excitement factor inserted into it. Indeed, it’s among the greatest when it comes to current hot-hatchbacks.

Renault Megane RS 280.

But is the RS Megane superior to the car it changes places with? “Yes” is the quick answer. You see, this model is the dog’s you-know-what on the road and the racetrack. To accomplish this, Renault has gone for a mightier 280ps 1.8-litre turbocharged lump. And there’s the choice of a six-speed automatic or a six-speed stick-shift to drive thump to the front tyres.

A feature on Renault Megane RS 280s is four-wheel steering. This gives improved stability and nimbleness. The steering isn’t bursting with feel, but it’s precise, and the four-wheel tech makes up for it.

Renault Megane RS 280 cabin.

The sound of the engine is awesome – with crackles and bangs exploding from the RS’s exhaust when changing gears.

This Renault has kerbside presence, too. Its muscular stance highlighted by bloated arches filled with massive alloys looks superb. The interior is similarly striking with the Megane boasting bucket seats and an Alcantara-covered steering wheel.

Renault Megane RS 280 speedometer.

Of course, it’s not flawless – the fake carbon fibre on the doors looks chavvy, and there are some second-rate plastics on the dash. But mostly, the Megane RS 280 is a magnificent machine that should be on your car shopping list if you’re a dad looking for a genuine hot-hatch.

Fast Facts (Renault RS 280 Cup)

  • Max speed: 158 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 5.8 seconds
  • Combined MPG: 35.8 mpg
  • Engine layout: 1,798cc 4-cylinder turbo petrol
  • Max. power (PS): 280
  • CO2: 181 g/km           
  • Price: £27,810