Renault Megane RS265 Trophy 2012 Review

September 19th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

It’s not often you have the police to thanks for an insanely quick car being made even quicker. In this case it’s the French Gendarmes who requested a rapid response vehicle with a minimum of 265 horsepower. Renault obliged by taking its existing RS250 and squeezing another 15 horsepower out of it. That makes a total of 265hp or 195kW to you new-school hipsters.

So we said ‘merci’ to the Frenchies and took the Megane RS265 for a strop around the more twisty roads just out of Auckland. The fact that this car has done a lap of 8 minutes 8 seconds around Nurburgring will not be lost on you the first time you Continue reading “Renault Megane RS265 Trophy 2012 Review” »

Renault Megane 2011 Review

November 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Much like celebrities Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez, Renault’s Megane became well known for the shapely figure of its behind. This characteristic defined the second generation of Renault’s volume-selling hatchback. Butt now the Megane is back for its third edition and after shedding some pounds it’s sporting a sleeker, leaner look. Pitted as a genuine contender against the benchmark VW Golf, the Megane has a lot to prove here in NZ. It’s arrived here a couple of years after debuting in Europe but the Megane may be the vehicle to advance Renault’s place in the consciousness of kiwi car buyers. Car and SUV got some seat-time in a Megane hatchback and found out why.

Exterior Styling – No junk in the Trunk
The chunky back end of its predecessor is gone but it’s still no waif at the rear. Wrap-around two-piece taillights and a curved rear windscreen add visual width. Away from the famous derriere, the Megane has a strong look and although highly styled remains fairly sedate for a French hatch. Prominent front guards and muscular rear haunches give it a dynamic stance, and unique touches include thick plastic trim on the bottom of the doors and a deeply creased bonnet. The look is finished with colour-coded mirror caps, silver door handles and front fog lamps. Standard wheel fitment is a 16-inch 5-spoke alloy that has a chunky appeal but falls short of completely filling the cavernous guards. Overall, the Megane is an elegant looker, it may not appeal to those who like their French styling extreme but it won’t polarize opinion like its predecessor.   Continue reading “Renault Megane 2011 Review” »

Renault and Williams destined for Clio hot hatch glory

July 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Back in the early ’90s Renault and Williams were dominating Formula One, and their success led to the creation of one of the best known hot hatches of all time. Now, with news that the two are getting back together for the 2012 F1 season, rumors have started flowing that they’ll once again collaborate on a new Clio-based hatch that could prove a very special machine.

This new hot hatch won’t be built overnight with little chance of Renault simply slapping on a new coat of paint, bigger alloys and some special badging. Instead, rumours are suggesting some major engine mods could result in a new Clio Williams that may produce as much as 180kW of power.

That figure is a large step up on the current Renaulsport Clio’s 146KW, and could even be enough to trouble its big brother – the 184kW Renaultsport Megane. The hot hatch could also include a chassis setup similar to the RS Clio Cup cars, but with the Sachs dampers from the more hardcore 2005 Clio Trophy and the brakes and rolling stock from the Megane Trophy car. Continue reading “Renault and Williams destined for Clio hot hatch glory” »

Renault Megane RS Trophy claims FWD record at the ‘Ring

June 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Renault has further pushed its claim of having the world’s hottest hatch by lowering its own longstanding lap record for a front-wheel drive production car at the Nordschleife. Renault first achieved this title in June 2008 when its Megane RenaultSport (RS) Trophy special claimed ultimate front-driving bragging rights.

The 197kW Megane RS took just  8 minutes and 7.97 seconds to lap the Nürburgring racetrack beating the time of the previous generation Mégane Renaultsport R26.R by 9 seconds. By comparison, another higher-powered hottest hatch contender the Ford Focus RS took 8 minutes and 26 seconds to complete a lap back in 2009.

The new record was set by Renault Sport’s development driver Laurent Hurgon, who understandably talked the car up, “The carefully-tuned Cup chassis, the dampers, the fade-resistant brakes, the Recaro seats, the power of the 265hp engine, the ready availability of torque between 2,500 and 5,000rpm and the car’s Bridgestone RE 050A (235/35 R19) tyres allowed me to make the most of the car’s enormous potential, especially into and out of the corners.”

The Trophy is a special edition of the standard Megane RS, power is increased by 11kW and torque by 20Nm through engine tweaks. The Trophy also comes standard with Formula 1-inspired Bridgestone Potenza RE050A high-performance tyres which may have made a big difference. Continue reading “Renault Megane RS Trophy claims FWD record at the ‘Ring” »

Renault Megane RS250 hot hatch goes on sale in NZ

May 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Renault’s hot hatch, the Megane RS250 has just touched down in New Zealand.

It’s full name is the Renault Megane Renault Sport 250 and this French speedster is set to give Kiwi high performance hatch enthusiasts a new purchasing option.

The three door has a two litre turbocharged motor producing 184 kWs and 340 Nm of torque, which is fed to the road through a six speed manual gearbox and limited slip differential. It can cross off the 0-100kph sprint in 6.1 seconds and has an overall fuel consumption of just 8.7 litres/100 kms.

The Megane RS250 will be made available in two specification levels – “Cup” and “Trophee” models and will sell from $51,990.

Standard wheel fitment is 18 inch alloy wheels shod with 235/40 ZR18 tyres. Visible behind the alloys are four piston Brembo ventilated disc brakes, which make use of ABS and EBD. The chassis includes a traction control system and an electronic safety programme.

It’s this chassis which has helped the Megane RS250 when compared to other hot hatch rivals, many of which have similar straight line performance. This high handling ability has led to the Megane RS250 winning a load of awards overseas including Britain’s “What Car” best hot hatch.

Features on the RS250 Cup model include cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers, rear fog lights and parking sensors, headlight washers, an engine immobiliser and six speaker sound system with multimedia capability and Bluetooth. Continue reading “Renault Megane RS250 hot hatch goes on sale in NZ” »

Renault stages bold comeback into NZ market

April 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

“Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years” is how the famous LL Cool J rap lyrics roll and today they ring true for car brand Renault who has unveiled a bold strategy for increasing sales in the NZ market.

After minimal sales in New Zealand last year, Renault is punching off the ropes and expanding its model range with vehicles positioned in very different core market segments. Renault’s offerings will include the new Fluence sedan, Megane Hatch, Megane Coupe-Cabriolet and the Koleos SUV. The new-to-NZ models were unveiled as part of a press event held in Auckland yesterday.

The models have just gone on sale as Renault adopts “Drive the Change” as its brand positioning statement, a phrase to reflect its new direction into the NZ mainstream motoring environment.

“Drive the Change” expresses the fundamental values of the Renault business culture – enthusiastic, innovative and human,” says Renault Cars General Manager, Stephen Kenchington. “Renault is investing proactively for growth with the all-new European styled and engineered Renault Mégane Hatch, the segment-reshaping Fluence Sedan, and stylish and chic glass-roofed Mégane Coupé-Cabriolet and Koleos SUV.”

“For the ultimate in European enthusiast sports machines, Kiwi drivers will be offered the visually exciting, muscled and toned new Mégane RS 250 Cup or Cup Trophée models. These will re-set the benchmark in terms of performance, equipment, attainability, as well as head-turning good looks that really stand out.” Continue reading “Renault stages bold comeback into NZ market” »

Renault planning three new electric vehicles

June 22nd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Renault be bop fq

This September’s Frankfurt Motor Show will be the venue for the unveiling of three new electric vehicles from Renault, including a concept that previews an all new model. The concept is predicted to be put on the same dedicated platform created from Renault’s alliance with Nissan, set to underpin its new EV debuting at the Tokyo Motor Show and going on sale next year. Renault development chief Christian Steyer has said that the EVs will benefit from distinctive styling to set them apart from the rest of the automaker’s lineup.

In addition to the three new EVs, Renault will apparently be showing off both fast charging technology and battery swapping equipment, along with electric conversions of existing Megane and Kangoo models.

China pulls a reversal and bans Renault car imports for safety concerns

June 11th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Renault Megane 250 fq

In an odd role reversal of the status quo, China has announced the halt of import of four Renault models on the back of ‘serious safety risks’ and non-compliance with regulations.

The Renault models affected include the Laguna, Scenic, Megane and Megane Coupe-Cabriolet – what are Renault’s most successful global models. The decision was reached by the lengthy-named General Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

“W]e have repeatedly found batches of passenger vehicles made by the French Renault … do not conform with our country’s mandatory standards and relevant technical regulations, and there are serious safety risks,” AQSIQ said in a statement.

The Chinese government’s decision is strange to say the least particularly when Chinese made vehicles like the Brillance BS4 have very little in the way of genuine safety. The BS4 recently scored zero stars in Euro NCAP testing. In contrast, the Renault Megane, Megane CC, Laguna and Scenic all achieved 5 stars in EuroNCAP testing.

The fact is that China is now the largest car market in the world and the banning of these Renault models will hurt the French manufacturer. In some opinions this is the first step in China trying to protect their domestic carmakers against the strong competition coming from Europe.

Renault hasn’t yet issued a formal response, with a spokesman saying only that the company was ‘surprised’ by the decision, and that it has plenty of evidence of the quality of its models in the form of independent press reviews and testing.

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