Up for the CUP

Megane CUP
Megane CUP

I love hot hatches. I used to have an XR3i and then an RS Turbo – oh such good fun they were.

Us Brits agree too, we are a nation of car nuts that love owning a car that can be used to going to the shops in, and then the next day turn up at a race track.

Renault has always breathed life into motorsport that is for sure, and one such car that has had shall we say the ‘treatment’ is the Megane 250 CUP.

Breathed on by Renaultsport, it has a mouth-watering 250 horsepower from its turbocharged 2.0-litre engine and the chassis to eclipse many a super car along the way.

Based on the Coupe body style, the CUP here has a low-slung stance and an aggressive nose with a curving roofline. Lowered suspension, large wheel arches and massive 18-inch alloys; it has lower side sills too and at the rear, the intentions are firmly evident with a rear spoiler and a huge central exhaust pipe emerging from the diffuser cut well into the rear bumper.

On the road: The engine is a screamer for sure as it belts out its hefty 250 horses onto the tarmac. Torque is saved for overtaking and the no-lag of the turbo performs really well and uses all the 340Nm available. The twin-scroll turbo is designed to give faster responses, making the engine immediately available for boost when required; no let up in power either until you reach the heady-heights of the red line in any gear too.

Top speed is 156 miles per hour, with 60 taking just 6.1 seconds. The miles to gallon figure is pretty good despite these figures, quoted at 34.4 on the combined cycle, and Renault’s commitment to the environment provides the CUP with just 190g/km.

Many of you will be thinking all that power and front wheel drive should give lots of the dreaded torque-steer, but whilst evident, is hardly worth writing about. The CUP chassis pack on my car here has a limited slip differential, stiffer springs and dampers plus anti-roll bars and grippy Michelin rubber and grooved brake discs and upgraded pads. On a track, this car could take on the might of many a supercar with more power – as the grip and poise it generates in awesome.

On the inside mine has the Recaro sports seats fitted, with yellow seatbelts and a low-slung driving position. The dials – despite being yellow also – are easy to read and I have an up-shift indicator to tell me when the best time is to select the next gear at just the right moment – optimising the power band. Drilled pedals look purposeful and just to remind you it has no fewer than 3 Renaultsport logo’s just to remind you what you’re aboard.

It feels business-like in here, complementing the racing heritage it has on the outside perfectly. Despite it having all the right bits as it were, the CUP still has air conditioning, a great-sounding stereo system, no fewer than 8 airbags and plenty of room. Despite it only having two doors, access to the rear seats is good and once in you do sit snugly. In the coupe configuration the boot does suffer a tad, but it’s nothing to get worried about as the rear seats split 60:40 to help with any large intrusion you may have to carry.

The price for this Renault is £24,020 but add a few of the options and it could add a grand or so onto this. If you want a comfy ride and less fun don’t select he CUP Chassis Pack; select it and your Renault is one of the nimblest, sweetest handling cars you will ever drive. It’s a hoot.

NICK JONES