You’ve probably guessed we’re fans of the ultimate R26.R version of the Renaultsport Megane already, but in fact we’d gladly take any of the hot Meganes. They may be an acquired taste in the style department, but there’s no arguing that the bulky looking hatches have firmly cemented Renaultsport as a performance brand.
However they’re quite practical too, being comfy to drive on a day-to-day basis and with plenty of room inside. With prices for the standard 225’s pretty low, you could be enjoying a very good daily driver for not much money. A standard one would also be a fine basis for extra tuning with a conversion to R26.R spec possible if you’re willing to spend the time and money. Do that and you’ll have the sort of front-wheel drive performance that sets lap records around the Nürburgring, which is a tempting prospect.
But if you can stretch to it, we’d heartily recommend a Megane Renaultsport 230 F1 Team R26. These were available from 2006 to celebrate Renault’s F1 success and had a raft of upgrades including slightly more power and the all important diff.
Megane Renaultsport (2004-2009)
Engine: 2ltr, 4-cylinder, turbocharged
Top speed: 147mph (230 F1 Team R26)
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Renaultsport Renaults are built in a different factory than the rest of Renault’s offerings and some believe that may explain why they’re surprisingly robust. Back boxes and brake discs may be the key areas to look at, the former often needing replacement by around 40,000 miles and the latter wearing quickly due to hard pad compounds.
Aside from that, just make sure it’s been well looked after and ideally the previous owner will have run the car on higher octane fuel throughout its life, as lower octane can cause pinking as with many turbocharged cars.
TUNING A MEGANE
An induction kit, exhaust and remap will reap rewards from the turbocharged engine. However, if you’ve already bought an R26.R then you might not want to change a thing. If it’s the standard 225 Megane though, getting the spec closer to the R26.R’s is the key.
This would ideally mean those engine mods plus a larger intercooler, an uprated braking package like Brembo four pots with 343mm discs, stiffer suspension like KW Variant 3s and the loss of as much weight as you can bare.
The best place to do this is with the seats, ditching the standard items and getting some lightweight buckets in place, plus a carbon fibre bonnet and lightweight alloys.Further engine tuning is still in development but the car has big potential for over 270bhp.
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