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Renault Megane Renaultsport engines, drive and performance

2006 - 2009 (change model)
Performance rating: 4.5 out of 54.5

Written by David Ross Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

Buyers can choose petrol or diesel versions of the Renaultsport Megane. The petrol version uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine producing 225bhp. A special R26 edition marking Renault’s success in the 2006 Formula One constructors championship which wrung a little extra power from the engine (230bhp) is able to better the standard car’s 0-62mph sprint time of 6.5 seconds by three tenths.

The turbo kicks in quite low down the rev range and the petrol Renaultsport delivers its power very smoothly. The diesel Renaultsport Megane uses a 175bhp 2.0 dCi engine, shading the hottest diesel version of the Volkswagen Golf. Although it isn’t a great deal higher than the diesel Megane GT. However, it is good for sprinting from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds and is exceptionally smooth.

Fourth gear is an ideal companion on twisty roads, offering enough flexibility low down to boot the car out of tight bends and still having plenty in reserve before arriving at the next corner.

It is often obvious from the driving seat how a very powerful front-wheel drive car struggles to deploy its power cleanly. All too frequently the steering wheel is dragged left and right during hard acceleration as the front tyres spin away when forward motion shifts weight to the rear. The Renaultsport Megane seems less susceptible to this trait than many of its rivals, including the Vauxhall Astra VXR and Mazda3 MPS, and the diesel’s slightly more relaxed demeanour makes it appear even less of a tearaway.

Renaultsport has also made a decent attempt at making the standard Megane’s dreadfully inert steering feel like it belongs in a sporty car. It isn’t quite as intuitive as in a Ford Focus ST, but the driver is far more aware of what’s happening and can carry more speed into bends with more confidence than on even the ‘warm’ Megane GT models. Cup versions of the Megane have stiffer springs and dampers compared to the standard Renaultsport models, and feel a little sharper, if less forgiving over bumps in the road at lower speeds.