The car we tested uses the R26.R as a starting point. Yes, it shares mechanical components with its predecessor, but not without upping the ante. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder unit is borrowed from the R26.R, but around a quarter of its components are new.
The powerplant used to keep screaming up to 230 hp and 310 Nm of torque, but now it delivers 250 hp and a peak torque of 340 Nm. As for the turbo lag, this is situated within reasonable limits. However, to get the most out of the engine, you’ll have to produce high notes.
The six-speed manual gearbox raises to the standard imposed by the engine. The shifts are precise and can be swiftly dealt with. It doesn’t offer the perfect weight we get from certain German competitors, but this is not necessarily an issue.
The ratios are rather short – getting from standstill to to 124 mph (200 km/h) is like using an assault rifle in burst fire mode. We didn’t choose the aforementioned value as a random one. You see, the Megane RS can hit a top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h), but once you pass 130 mph (210 km/h) the vehicle starts to lose a bit of its stamina and the forward surge starts fading away.
However, the straight line performance isn’t the Megane’s top asset. Oh no. That title is reserved for the vehicle’s handling. The Cup version has two aces up its sleeve: a 15 percent stiffer chassis (compared to the Sport incarnation of the Megane RS) and a limited slip differential.
As for the suspension, the front axle uses a Machperson setup (sprinkled with aluminum), while at the rear we find a torsion beam. All these work together to offer an incredibly sharp handling. You turn the wheel, the car instantly follows your orders, you know exactly what’s going to happen next and, instead of being punished for abusing the throttle, you’re invited to throw in a bit more power.
The brakes, which were kindly donated by Brembo, offer proper stopping power and have no issue in keeping the fading away. With all the rumors about the RS’ output floating around we couldn’t help but stop at the nearest dyno we could find. There, our hero fought hard, but in the end it didn’t offer the rumored “significantly more than standard” output. You can find out the juicy (for the engineer in you) details in the image gallery.
All in all, the Megane RS 250 brings a fair level of upgrades over its predecessor and manages to make use of them in a balanced, brilliant way. Continue reading