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moe




QUOTE
Renault has earned its place as the pan-European king of the hot hatch. But with new contenders like the MINI JCW and Alfa GTA vying for the throne, Renault knew it would have to up its game to hold on to the title. Fortunately, it brought out a slick new Megane to replace the old pillbox version, leaving Renaultsport enthusiasts frothing at their wine-and-cheese-stuffed mouths for a performance version. Renault finally obliged at the Geneva Motor Show with the highly-anticipated new Megane RS.

Packing a 250-horsepower 2.0-liter 16-valve turbo four, it's the most powerful version yet... 20 horses more than the last ultimate R26.R. Buyers can choose right off the bat between the Sport and Cup chassis (the latter with a limited slip differential) and fully defeatable stability control. Styling cues are borrowed from the Trophy racer concept that debuted at last year's Paris Motor Show, complete with front grille splitter and center-exit exhaust, all of which makes for the most aggression seen out of France since Napoleon.


autoblog

sexay
Synesthesia
That looks really good! I like that yellow/black wheel combination.
fiber optic
I don't think that rear window could be tilted much closer to horizontal. What a joke.
Bjorn
Fuck, I wish I lived in Europe.

Note to Nissan, drop that hideous POS you call the Versa, and start bringing us the Nissan Megane.
dukenukem
Do you get the F1 car free with the Renault or what?
Mitlov
QUOTE(Bjorn @ Mar 5 2009, 06:21 AM) *
Fuck, I wish I lived in Europe.

Note to Nissan, drop that hideous POS you call the Versa, and start bringing us the Nissan Megane.


Doesn't the Sentra platform-share with the Megane already? And the Versa is a B-segment car, not a C-segment like the Sentra and Megane.
Synesthesia
QUOTE(fiber optic @ Mar 5 2009, 08:54 AM) *
I don't think that rear window could be tilted much closer to horizontal. What a joke.


It's not any worse than this:

Bjorn
QUOTE(Mitlov @ Mar 5 2009, 09:25 AM) *
Doesn't the Sentra platform-share with the Megane already? And the Versa is a B-segment car, not a C-segment like the Sentra and Megane.


I don't know...if it does, it just goes to show how fucked in the ass we get. I think the current Sentra is hideous, and I hear the SE-R isn't anything to write home about.

Kill the Sentra, start selling the Nissan Megane in NA.

You listening Maxima302?

The Megane RS is one of the best looking cars I have ever seen! It's right up there with the Cayman and Carrera GT...and that's high praise coming from me.
maxima302
QUOTE(Bjorn @ Mar 5 2009, 06:21 AM) *
Fuck, I wish I lived in Europe.

Note to Nissan, drop that hideous POS you call the Versa, and start bringing us the Nissan Megane.


Amen! This thing is beautiful!
infinity
This doesn't do much for me honestly...am I the only one?
Mitlov
QUOTE(infinity935 @ Mar 6 2009, 07:49 AM) *
This doesn't do much for me honestly...am I the only one?


Nope.
moe
^ i remember you getting all excited over the stock one. i figured you'd be yelling ghosn's name over the renaulsport version
Mitlov
QUOTE(moe @ Mar 6 2009, 09:53 AM) *
^ i remember you getting all excited over the stock one. i figured you'd be yelling ghosn's name over the renaulsport version


As said in Monty Python, "I got better." I'm kind of bored with the whole FWD hot hatch thing at the moment.
darinzon
driven one lately?
moe
i doubt there's been a better time for fwd

DR: Prize Fight

DR: Fierce Creatures
Mitlov
QUOTE(darinzon @ Mar 6 2009, 11:48 AM) *
driven one lately?


Yeah, a MkV GTI, and it was brilliant. The boredom is purely subjective and is not a knock against the modern crop of hot hatches.
speedyK
So, I went out this afternoon to buy a new helmet for my upcoming weekend airfield driver training day.

My wife's parting words as I drove off in the Porker were, "Sell the Porsche! Sell the Porsche!" rolleyes.gif
So, after my helmet purchase, I went to a main dealer and asked to try a car. They had a brand new, just-delivered one in the middle of the showroom. They moved it outside, tanked it, put garage plates on it and sorted the radio code (so that it didn't beep all the time) while it warmed up. Then the salesman said to me, "You don't have to be gentle with it - you can thrash them from new – though it won't be freed up yet, so you'll probably only have about 240 instead of 265 bhp." tongue.gif

He said that he was interested to hear my impressions (he could see my 997 and knew about the Aston and my GTR test drive). He said that they mainly get people more used to Golfs, etc. who are more easily impressed.

With that he invited me to take the car out alone and to have fun.

I took it onto the mountain road where I had also tried the GTR. But, before I talk about that, here are some journalists' thoughts on the car.


The reports in the english, german and swiss motorpress were unanimous and can be summarised by the phrase:

A fantastic driver's car.


It was particularly the following statement from Car magazine that I noted,

If you think all hot hatches are kid's toys and that a real driver's car has to be rear-drive and packing 400 bhp, call your dealer now and book that test drive.

If you do, and you manage to find yourself on some proper roads, you won't want to go home without one.


They also said,

(...) feels so alert, so up for it (...) changes direction so quickly, whateever the lateral load, that it somehow(and unfairly) makes the VW (Scirocco) feel slightly stodgy. Its proper mechanical LSD delivers traction that the brilliant Scirocco can only dream about.

(...) fizzy "Come on! Come on! What are you waiting for?" (...) While the handling is superb, the ride‘s so stiff you sometimes feel like a giant tuning fork that‘s been belted off the side of an anvil. C(...) Could you live with that day in, day out? (..) Bovington did for a year and loved every moment.

(...) the way it drives (...) is pretty much the only reason for buying (it) (...) all about those moments when the road clears and teh only thing standing between you and an almighty shunt is your common sense and the last 5% of purchase of those sticky Bridgestones.

Life with the (...) would never be less than full on.


The swiss magazine, Auto Illustrierte, in their Sportscar Catalogue for 2011 has this to say, after trying it at the Nόrburgring's Nordschleife,

Nothing unsettles this racy french car. The firm, but for everyday use still comfortable, Cup chassis suspension never lets the car get nervous at the limit.

Thanks to the mechanical diff and the 3-level ESP, it pulls through corners without wavering with slight tendency to understeer. And if the road and your talent run out, the red-painted 4-pot brakes can bite immensely.

It offers both race-track ability and some comfort.


The german mag, Auto Zeitung compared this car and the Golf GT1Edition 35.at the 'Ring. The latter took 19 seconds longer for a lap (8:26.6 min vs. 2:45.5 min).

They said about the winner,

The 265 bhp turbo always hangs tenaciously on the throttle (...) after over 20 km of abuse, the brakes still react to every millimeter of pedal movement, the manual 6-speed box has a precise gate and short throws. It is quickly clear that this is one of the radical type of compact sportscars. It flies into the braking point for the Hohenrain chicane at 238 km/h and remains absolutely stable. No twitching at the rear, no steering corrections.

The limits are amazingly high. It only begins to slightly understeer very late – and even then a slight lift of te pedal and turning in a little bring you back to the ideal line amazingly easily. It doesn't know oversteer. The Bridgestones stick like glue. especially in high speed corners it is clearly superior to the GTI and impresses with very high speed without showing a trace of nervousness.




To be honest, on the basis of these reports, I was expecting it to be a little extreme for everyday use – a bit of an eyeball rattler.

I got into the spacious cockpit and (manually) adjusted the Recaro seat to a fair approximation of a reasonable driving position, engaged first gear in the clearly defined and precise gate and started to let in the clutch. It stalled after about a couple of centimeters of pedal movement. Second attempt was successful and I was soon pulling out from the garage onto the clear straight road between fields. Incredibly quickly first gear was used up and second was required, then third. The engine was already into its border region at 6k rpm and was limited to 7k. I moved up through the gears and concentrated on the seat – would it be comfortable on long journeys? The support seemed OK – not perfect lumbar support like a Lotus Type 11X or 997's adaptive sports seat, but not bad. The only seat adjustment on the Recaros (which have side airbags) is squab height, back angulation and fore/aft .

I soon caught up a huge convoy behind a tractor and turned across the road into an farmyard to retrace my tracks. Failed to find reverse at first until I saw the lift ring, then it worked :roll:

Stormed off again – he did say I could screw it – and noted that it copes pretty well with putting the power down in a straight line – thoufh those gears really are quickly used up. It doesn't have the long legs and surging power of an Aston, 997 or GTR.

Up onto the winding, sweeping and hairpin-bends road from the valley into the mountains now. Traffic is not too bad. Most of it is quickly dispersed with – again using a gear or two more than I'm used to – one car ahead especially pulls off and rejoins behind me (my car is black and perhaps looks a little menacing with its LED daylight running lights on).

I am able to take quite long sections alone at a pace dictated only by me. Diving through the tighter corners and especially on S-bends, the car is nowhere near as tied down as I had expected a Cup chassis to be. It is actually quite floaty, so goodness knows what a stock chassis is like! :shock:

The steering feel is good – direct and adequate feedback. Powering on through turns results in no discernable torque steer. It works well and the wheel is of reasonable size and feel.

I stop to turn around and take some pics.

Then I wait until there has been no one going down hill for some time and launch it back towards the valley. The brakes can't be faulted – they drag off speed without issue. Attacking the twisty bits with enthusiasm now, I still find it all not tied down enough. But the 19" rims with Potenza RE50As grip well – even though they are brand new.

The engine itself is always willing and is fairly unobtrusive. The exhaust has a quite throaty sound when you let the car off the leash.

The car has all the gear – tons of buttons and control things around the wheel. The seats are cloth, but leather can be had for the Recaros – but the vast acreages of plastic on the top of dashboard and the fascia will still remain and they look cheap sad.gif

The instruments are not great. Who te Hell thought a black needle on a black dial was good idea for the petrol gauge?! :shock: Presumably it has a light in the needle for nightime.

The space in the back is fine - even in the middle seat I had no head clearance issue – the rear seats fold 1/3 and 2/3 and the boot is a good size.

265 Trophy
















After my drive I tell him my impressions and talk specs and prices. They can offer me a 2k discount because of the strong Swiss franc. He prints me out the details with the spec I suggested (fairly well-loaded but no "panorama" glass roof) and in Sirius Yellow smile.gif







We agree that I will let him know my thoughts and I depart. The Porker seems to be so compact (even though it is of similar width) and the seat fits me like a glove – the leather soft-textured, but the support firm thumbs_up.gif Every tiny input results in a response – all so tied together. It is in an entirely different league. Oh – and when I get in, I tip my finger on the sunroof button and enjoy the fresh air and blue skies. No opening roof option on the R.S. sad.gif – as is the case for the Nissan sad.gif sad.gif

Get home and tell my wife about it. She says I shouldn't buy expensive cars and wants to know how much? She then says, "I can tell – I know you won't sell the Porsche for that." Then, as an after thought, "Don‘t you dare get another car before selling the Porsche!" laugh.gif

It would be a rational choice and far more practical – but this is supposed to be about driving pleasure – and the 997 is far more a driver's car. I don‘t think I can bring myself do it...

I can't see a (slightly) more practical and more enjoyable car than the 997 – apart from the closed roof GTR and (still way out of reach) FF.

Maybe my wife will still be saying, "Sell the Porsche!" to me in 10 years biggrin.gif




If I bought the Trophy, I'd have to have it tweaked. Amazingly, there is a swiss tuner who chips it to 295 bhp and lowers and widens the track with legal spacers for a reasonable sum – a test reports attests that, "it needs a steady hand to keep it on course when accelerating." tongue.gif

But I'd have to have a "pure" driver's car as well – don't think SWMBO would like that idea though! biggrin.gif
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