It seems like Steve Sutcliffe is now collaborating with Evo magazine, and that’s a good thing because only he could have come up with this review so late in the game. The Megane 275 Trophy-R is a pretty old-looking machine, but it’s the perfect track hatch to take on the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S, don’t you think?
The GTI has more power, torque and less weight to carry around – it sounds like Steve is setting the story up for a major reversal. But in fact, he’s not. Though nearly evenly matched, the Volkswagen hatchback establishes a slightly faster time around the track, which is actually to be expected.
Megane RS models have always set the benchmark for track-focused front-wheel-drive cars, thanks to their down-to-the-bone weight savings. However, the Clubsport S does away with its rear tires too, making it just a few kilograms lighter.
Both cars use the same Pilot Sport Cup II tires, which make the cars super-quick around the Rockingham circuit, but very lairy before the rubbers are sufficiently warm, especially the ones at the back. Both the GTI and the Megane hang the tail out like unhinged lunatics who think it’s a Porsche. It really has been a long time since we saw so much lift-off oversteer, and as we said, it’s something Sutcliffe is good at.
The engine is clearly the Achilles heel of the Megane. It uses older technology and is down on both power and torque compared to the GTI Clubsport S, which generates up to 310 PS on overboost. A trick suspension system with independent reservoir dampers is the Trophy-R’s redeeming feature.
However, the lap times point to a clear winner. Down the back straight at Rockingham, the GTI nutter is 2 mph faster. It manages to do a full lap in 1 minute 21 seconds, 0.7 of a second faster than the Renault rival. For the record, an E92 M3 needs 1:25.6