Renault Megane R.S. 280 Cup EDC

Cup brings a harder edge to Megane hot hatch.

When we tested the new Renault Megane R.S. 280 Sport earlier this year (The Road Ahead April/May magazine), we praised its spirited performance, adept handling and five-door practicality. And this despite the newcomer displacing 200 fewer cubic centimetres than its well-regarded predecessor, the R S. 265

The R.S. 280’s new, 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder pumps out 10kW more power, making total output 205kW @ 6000rpm. Peak torque measures 390Nm from 2400-4800rpm, 30Nm more, and on tap 600rpm sooner. As before, drive is channelled to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox or six-speed EDC transmission (which adds $2500).

And now we’ve had the pleasure of testing its sibling – the R.S. 280 Cup. The difference is more than simply name or equipment specification. The Sport is designed and engineered to be more well-rounded for everyday use whereas the Cup is biased towards a track-focus.

The Cup ‘chassis’ (by which Renault is referring to not the car’s structure, but its suspension) is some 10 percent stiffer overall and comes with its own specific tuning for the springs, dampers, anti-roll bars and hydraulic compression.

RS 280 Cup Interior

Where the Sport uses its brakes to slow the inside wheel and tighten its line under cornering, the Cup has a Torsen mechanical limited-slip differential which can transfer up to 45 percent of total torque to the wheel that needs it most. The LSD makes a dynamic duo paired with Renault’s 4CONTROL four-wheel steer system. At speeds above 60km/h (or 100km/h in Race mode), the front and rear wheels turn in the same direction for increased stability. At lower speeds, they turn in the opposite direction to lend increased agility, particularly through tight corners.

As with the Sport, there is an appreciative absence of torque steer. The steering is quick, but well weighted and communicative. The Cup rides firmer, no surprise given its larger 19-inch wheels, but well short of being harsh. A claimed 0-100km/h time of a slick 5.8 seconds seems fully validated

So, which to choose? Both cars fulfil their design brief well but, don’t just take our word for it. If you can, test drive back-to-back to be sure you get which meets your needs better.

KEY STATS

  • MLP: $51,990^
  • ENGINE: 1.8-litre turbo petrol 4-cyl
  • ANCAP SAFETY RATING: N/A
  • TAILPIPE CO2 (g/km): 165

FOR:

Performance, handling, braking.

AGAINST:

Inflator kit (no spare wheel), firm ride.