RenaultSport has ceased developing new models so we didn’t hesitate for a second when we were offered a Renault Megane RS300 Trophy to review.

RenaultSport is no more. This news was met with great sadness by us and, probably, most other petrolheads. The French brand is replacing its ‘RS’ division with Alpine. The new performance arm will more closely align road-going products to the F1 team (though that may not be ideal at the moment). So what you are looking at is the last-ever Renault ICE-powered hot hatch… sad times. But, we have to celebrate performance motoring, particularly ICE cars whenever we can.

Follow Double Apex on Instagram and Facebook where we share more car content.

What is it?

The Renault Megane RS300 Trophy is the latest in a long line of performance Meganes. French foils to the likes of the VW GTI, Ford ST and Civic Type-R brigade. The RS300 is based on the latest generation Megane, so it has that car’s same distinct looks. In RS trim the front bumper has a blade-like element that mimics the front wing of an F1 car. The rear also has a motorsport link in the shape of a deep diffuser. The front foglamps have a distinctive checkered flag motif.

In RS guise there are pumped up arches filled by a set of diamond-cut 19-inch alloys with red accents. A set of ‘Trophy’ decals adorns the flanks and rump, just to let onlookers know exactly what it is they are looking at. All in all, the RS300 is a handsome prospect that made a few people take a second glance.

Read our slightly different take on the Mercedes-AMG A45S and its place in the world of rallying.

More Sportiness

The sporty exterior demeanour is reflected in the cabin. There is a set of figure-hugging seats that are covered in grippy Alcantara, much needed in this car. The leather-wrapped steering wheel has a perforated finish and a rally style marker at the 12 o’ clock position… nice. Oh, and there are a set of large metal paddles fixed to the steering column, more of which in a bit.

Punching Hard

RenaultSport bucked the trend of all its rivals. The Megane RS300 Trophy is powered by a 1,8-litre turbocharged engine, a little smaller than the likes of the VW GTI, Honda, Type R and Hyundai i30N. That doesn’t mean it lacks in firepower. The smaller engine punches out 221 kW and 420 N.m of torque. The inline four breathes through an adaptive exhaust system that someone described as “sounds like a Porsche”. A dual-clutch transmission is the only option on offer.

The engine has a strong power delivery and excellent response, particularly in the more alert ‘sport’ and ‘race’ settings of the variable drive mode selector. A switch between the seats allows you to toggle through the system. Unfortunately it alerts your passengers by announcing the change on the central infotainment screen – bugger. Renault says the RS300 can blast from rest to 100 km/h in 5,7 seconds. It’s a claim we’ll believe as the transmission has a robust launch control system. We performed multiple starts and the system hooked up every time, seemingly feeling quicker with each subsequent run. Perhaps the Bridgestones were enjoying the heat. Speaking of…

A Rip Snorting Drive

But the Megane RS300 Trophy isn’t about going quick in a straight line. It really shines when you point its nose at the nearest set of the twisties. It is there that the, usually, harsh ride suddenly makes sense. The firm springing enables the car to keep a flat cornering stance, providing full contact for the wide footwear. The helm wriggles in one’s hands as your right foot unleashes in excess of 400 N.m of twist action. Although the steering is laser sharp, it does lack any proper feedback as to what the front-end is really doing.

The RS300 has some other party tricks that add to its dynamic repertoire. The first of these is an active rear steering system, called 4Control in Renault-speak. At low speeds, the system turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front wheels. This allows the car to turn in really quickly, think of a shopping trolley. At speeds of over 60 km/h (100 in race mode), all four wheels turn in the same direction. This aids stability at higher speeds. Both can be felt in action.

The second is a mechanical limited-slip differential. Once you turn in you simply mash the throttle and let both front wheels pull the nose towards the apex. This is one of those rare FWDs that doesn’t wash out ie understeer when you really push on. These two systems combine to make the Trophy a really lively steer. It’s definitely more entertaining than the Mk8 Golf GTI and up there with the likes of the Hyundai i30N. The only thing that could have added to the fun factor would be a third pedal and six-speed ‘stick’ shift.


Renault has built some truly great hot hatches over the years. This goes back to the old 5s and the many Clios (not the silly turbocharged automatic ones), not forgetting the many special edition, record-setting Meganes. This Renault Megane RS300 Trophy has the DNA of those great driver’s cars coursing through it. You can feel that it was developed by people who understand and appreciate driving dynamics. Sure, it sacrifices some comfort, but it does so to benefit outright pace, and for that it must be lauded.

Renault SA was supposed to bring the limited-edition Ultime to SA (as we reported here) but the current exchange rate has scuppered that plan. The Renault Megane RS300 Trophy is a fitting swansong for the RS badge, and we’re sad to see it go. Au revoir RenaultSport.

Model: Renault Megane RS300 Trophy
Price:R949 999
Engine: 1,8-litre inline four, turbocharged
Transmission: six-speed dual-clutch automatic, FWD
Max power: 221 kW
Max torque: 420 N.m
0-100 km/h: 5,7 sec
Top speed: 255 km/h
Fuel consumption: 8,1 L/100 km