Renault Sport has revealed the full technical specifications of its Megane RS Trophy-R and, if anything, it’s even more exotic than expected. We always knew that the car to nab the front-wheel drive Nurburgring lap record from the Type R Civic with a 7min 40sec time – that’s 3.8 secs quicker than the Honda and an incredible 14 seconds ahead of the old Trophy-R – would undergo a thorough transformation, but this one is drastic, even by Renault Sport standards. To summarise, it includes the loss of 130kg, the use of race-spec front suspension with aggressive geometry and the ditching of the RS Megane’s USP: that new all-wheel steer system. Talk about intent.
First things first, the weight loss. As expected, the Trophy’s back bench is gone, saving 25.3kg, while a thinner floor removes another 1.3kg over the rear wheels. Up front, the driver and passenger chairs have been swapped for Sabelt composites that weight just 7kg each, and the infotainment has been downgraded to 7.0 inches in a bid to save 225g. No infotainment delete option is available, which will probably disappoint absolutely nobody because driving to your track day in silence is very boring.
Ultra-hot Megs have not been able to use composite windows after the famed R26.R due to modern crash regulations, but the latest R does at least get thinner glass glazing at the front and side of the car, saving 1kg from the total. Similarly, the bonnet is made from carbon composite (weighing just 8kg) and Renault has used a fully carbon rear diffuser at the back, with the Akrapovi? titanium exhaust removing a further 6kg; the ditching of the rear wiper knocks off 3kg more. Those after maximum weight loss can option in a smaller battery that’s 4.5kg lighter and there are even carbon wheels – a first for the sector – that save 4kg per corner, to satisfy unsprung mass nerds.
Yet even with all that, it’s perhaps the chassis modifications that best illustrate Renault Sport’s hardcore philosophy with the new Meg Trophy-R. The front axle now runs with the wheels set at negative 2.05 degrees, an increase of a degree, meaning the standard-fit Torsen limited-slip differential can be even more effective when the car is loaded through a bend. Yummy. At the back, the 4Control steering is gone, with the agility lost from its removal said to have been clawed back by that new front setup. In fact, Renault Sport reckons the two-wheel steer car is actually more agile at the rear than the regular Trophy thanks to the pointiness of its nose. No doubt that trait has been helped by the fact 4Control system’s removal has taken 32kg out of the back!
Then there are optional 390mm front carbon ceramic brakes – another first for the sector – which should provide the 1,306kg Trophy-R with phenomenal stopping power, as well as tweaked aerodynamics, which are said to help cool said brakes and also tidy airflow over and under the car. Interestingly, Renault Sport has not sought any notable increase in downforce; it says this illustrates the division’s desire to offer something rewarding and “pure”. The turbocharged 1.8-litre engine, for example, has remained unchanged with the same 300hp and 295lb ft of torque outputs, although that diet has helped trim the 0-62mph time to 5.4 seconds, which is four tenths quicker than the 20hp more powerful and 145kg heavier Type R.
Want one? Course you do. But there is a catch, or two. Only 500 Trophy-Rs are to be made, just 28 of which will be right-hand drive. And while pricing is yet to be confirmed, given the technical setup, we’re expecting the total figure to amount to aheckofalot – a European price of 55,000 euros would point to that. Just how much it will cost here could be pivotal in determining whether we’re looking at the new hot hatch champion or an extremely costly alternative to an impressive Honda – one that’s less than four seconds slower around the Nordschleife in standard trim. Then again, it would be nice to see Renault Sport back on form again, wouldn’t it?