Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

The Megane Renaultsport uses a 250bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre engine and a six-speed manual gearbox, which means it can cover the 0-62mph sprint in 6.1 seconds and is capable of a maximum speed of 156mph. There's plenty of low down pulling power too and the manner in which the Megane delivers these impressive figures is far less dramatic than cars like the Mazda3 MPS or Vauxhall Astra VXR.

Wheelspin can be provoked if you try hard enough but the car's electronics tend to keep things well controlled. Power delivery is smooth with little evidence of turbo lag at lower revs and it builds speed progressively, yet rapidly, through the gears. Meanwhile the exhaust has been tuned to give a slightly sporty rasp under hard acceleration, yet seems as refined as a regular petrol Megane.

There is an optional Renaultsport Monitor available which displays engine data and performance information as well as recording lap and acceleration times.

There are two versions of the Renaultsport Megane chassis. The Cup chassis is fitted to the entry-level version of the car, or available as an option on the top-of-the-range model. The sports chassis is the alternative, and compared with the next 'hottest' Megane, the 180bhp TCe, this has specific suspension settings and extra stiffness built in to reduce body roll.

It still holds the road very impressively and you only really notice how it could be improved for more driver-focus after getting behind the wheel of the Cup model. Stiffness is increased further, while a thicker anti-roll bar and a limited-slip differential improve traction in poor conditions. The steering is sharper too. We had the chance to drive Cup versions on a race track in wet conditions and despite the slippery surface, all aspects of the car's behaviour inspired confidence, particularly the direct steering and the powerful brakes.

Renaultsport Dynamic Management is new for this generation model allowing the driver to choose the level of electronic intervention. The default mode is 'on', pressing the ESP button will delay the intervention of stability and traction control, while holding the button down will disable the systems completely.