Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – 05 Feb 2018
When the words sport and rally come into the same context as the brand Renault, it always conjures up a feeling of French passion, fun and great historic racing days of the icons such as the Renault 5 in rally spec with its widened body and flared arches tearing up a world circuit. The French have always had a soft spot for building passion fueled rally cars which can be brought onto the road, but what about one with family practicality? Meet the Renault Mégane RS 280 Lux edition.
What Is It?
Put simply, its Renaults answer to the likes of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST and Honda Civic Type R. It is a no-nonsense hot-pocking hatchback with space for your kids, luggage and the family pet!
A lot has changed from the previous-generation Mégane RS, including a new 1.8-litre engine which is both lighter and physically smaller than the outgoing 2.0-litre, the ability to choose from either a manual gearbox or a dual-clutch gearbox and finally a lot in the watch of creature comforts previously not heard of on the older model. The whole packed is beautifully wrapped-up in what is gorgeous dimensions and a body which I can only describe as eye-ball licking good.
The Heart of The Beast
Under the bonnet, the RS 280 Lux’s 1.8-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol motor pushes out a very healthy 205 kW of power and 390 Nm of torque, resulting in 0 – 100 km/h being achieved in a claimed 5.8 seconds.
If you decide on going for the automated EDC model, you get a very smooth double-clutch shift and massive flappy paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. With the optional 19-inch alloys, the ride is never too firm, and thanks to Renault’s clever differential and 4-wheel steering system, you are able to approach corners and passes with great speed, while still feeling relaxed and confident. Large Brembo brake callipers add re-assuring and much needed stopping power to the mix.
The Lux has the ability to offer a ride which perfectly balances not too soft, nor hard. If track-focussed aggression is your thing, Renault of course of the Mégane RS 280 Cup edition.
The list of standard features on this car is very extensive, especially considering its price point. Taking centre stage is its large 7-inch multimedia system which features the likes of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and an array of very extensive telemetry and performance data, including the exact amount of power being applied and wheel angles.
While I love the flared bucket type drive and passenger front seats, it certainly does detract from rear-occupant legroom, but this being said, the seats offer exceptional comfort. The boot offers very generous room, not far apart the segment-leading Honda Civic Type R in terms of the luggage load area.
Conclusion, SA Pricing
If like me and so many others out there, you yearn for a fun drivers car, which adds a big dollop of practicality and sexy looks to boot, the Mégane RS 280 Lux definitely ticks so many boxes. It offers a less clinical feel than some of its competitors and manages to package serious French charm.
The Renault Megane RS 280 is available in either Lux EDC and Cup manual. The choice of practicality of more serious track appeal is yours, as both cost exactly the same amount at R549,900. The Megane RS is sold as standard with a 5-year/150 000 km mechanical warranty, a 5-year/150 000 km service plan.