It may look to the untrained eye no more than a tarted-up Dynamique Nav version of the humble Renault Mégane, but keen motorists after a front-wheel-drive hot hatch love the RS, a car so rewarding and so thrilling that it’s the automotive equivalent of a lost weekend in Paris with Lily James.
This is the third-generation Mégane RS, and despite the emergence of several brilliant rivals in this class in the past few years, it’s still a terrific car and a great used buy. It’s five-door-only now, and the engine dropped in size from 2.0 to 1.8 litres for this version, but don’t worry: those rear doors simply make it more practical and, thanks to its large turbocharger, this car has more power than its RS 275 predecessor.
That power can be sent through a six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic gearbox. You can have it in two different states of firmness, too: standard or Cup, the latter also featuring on the 300 Trophy model, where power is raised from the regular 276bhp to a mega 296bhp.
This also features upgraded brakes and a lightweight lithium ion battery to shave 18kg off the standard car. There was even a set of lighter wheels available to save a further 8kg. An even lighter, stripped-out Trophy-R version tops the RS price list.
Standard equipment on the RS is pretty generous and includes climate control, LED headlights, rear parking sensors and keyless entry. Alas, you’ll have to track down a car fitted with the optional Safety Pack Premium to get automatic emergency braking.
On the road, the RS is a peach. It’s quick, with 0-62mph in just 5.7sec in the 300 Trophy, and it can run up to 162mph. It sounds great, too, especially in its Sport or Race modes (Natural is the standard setting).
On the standard suspension, it’s firm but rides bumps and broken roads well. The Cup is even firmer and can jostle you around on give-and-take roads.
Ones we found
2018 Mégane RS 280 Cup, 30,000 miles, £22,995
2018 Mégane RS 300 Trophy, 12,000 miles, £24,995
2019 Mégane RS 300 Trophy, 5000 miles, £27,995
2020 Mégane RS 280, 3000 miles, £22,995