9tro issue #7
Text by Cheryl Tay
Photos by Adrian Wong
My first experience with the Renault Megane RS250 was a pretty exhilarating one as Denis Lian, motorsports manager of Renault authorised distributor Wearnes Automotive, took us on a rather mean ride around the Alexandra area.
The car was launched last August, but we took our time to test drive it and finally after every other car magazine has written about it – we are here to give our views on it and why it is such a good car.
The test drive unit we got was the three-door hatchback in Sport Yellow. The striking yellow theme is immensely in-your-face as we see yellow Recaro seat stitching, yellow steering wheel stitching, yellow rev-counter, yellow seat belts and even yellow engine bay parts. Called the Yellow Ambience Pack, I am surprised that the stock Brembo brake calipers are in red and not yellow!
Powered by a 2-litre turbocharged engine, the RS250 is one of the easiest manual cars to drive.
Its new six-speed manual gearbox (PK4) has higher ratios and shifts faster and more accurately, hence giving a 6.1-second zero to 100km/h dash time.
Maximum power kicks at 250bhp at 5,500rpm while a healthy 340Nm of maximum torque is available from 3,000rpm, of which the bulk is ready from as low as 1,900rpm.
In addition, there is a warning light that suggests when to change gears and also an audible warning if the rev-limiter is about to kick in.
Enhancing the performance of the RS250 is its Limited Slip Differential (LSD) that helps to maintain optimum traction and minimise torque steer. With strong power comes a need for equally good stopping ability. The RS250 covers that more than adequately with its stock four-pot Brembo brakes with vented brake discs of 340mm diameter up front and an 11-inch servo.
Having 24 hours with the car is simply not enough – minus eight hours of sleep and we are only left with 16 hours to drive as well as photograph it. For such a spanking solid car, it will be a real crime not to get good photos of it.
Braving the rains and the winds, we took the RS250 to a few spots around Singapore in an attempt to get great shots that will flatter and do justice to the hot hatch. Its wider wheelarches and enlarged air intake on the front bumper, along with the Formula 1-type aerodynamic blade, gives the yellow hatch an aggressive stance and do-not-mess-with-me look – essential for such pocket rockets. Not forgetting the central exhaust tailpipe, diffuser and rear lip spoiler that contributes to the car’s sportiness and the LED daytime running lights for a shiny tint in the front.
New tricks from the RS250 stem from the Renault Sport Dynamic Management and the Renault Sport Monitor. The Dynamic Management system consists of three levels of electronic driving aids that you can adjust to your preference.
When the engine starts, the Dynamic Management is set to default mode ‘On’. The electronic stability programme (ESP), ASR traction control and emergency brake assist are activated and on standby to prevent the car from slipping or sliding. Switch to ‘Sport’ mode by pressing the ESP button briefly and you get less ESP interference, where the ESP and ASR kicks in later so you can have that little bit of fun when pushing the car. No intervention wanted? Then hold on to the ESP button to switch to ‘Off’ mode. This disconnects the ESP and you can then have pure joy with the car, round the circuit advisably.
The Sport Monitor collects driving data and then displays this real-time competition-style data. Using the steering wheel controls, the driver can access the information on the main dashboard display and see data pertaining to main engine functions like turbo pressure, oil temperature, brakes; engine performance data like torque and power figures; transverse and longitudinal acceleration and performance data which automatically records the best 400-metre standing start and 0-100km/h times.
The Dynamic Management and Sport Monitor work in tandem to give you the best settings to bring out the maximum of the car. When the ‘Sport’ mode is activated, the Sport Monitor actually allows the driver to choose between linear, normal, snow, sport and extreme settings so as to adjust the car’s acceleration traits.
Not without the usual bells and whistles, the RS250 comes with automatic dual-zone climate control, hands-free entry and an ignition key card (yes the key is shaped like a credit card) as well as automatic locking and unlocking function.
Rev-happy, adrenalin-pumping and intensely-orgasmic are just some of the words to describe my RS250 drive. It was with much reluctance in the heart when I returned the car. To the happy owners of the RS250, you deserve a pat on the back for making probably one of the best decisions in your life. Now, can I get a second go at the car?
Renault Megane RS250 2.0T (M)
Engine: 1,998cc 16v turbocharged
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Max Power: 250bhp at 5,500rpm
Max Torque: 340Nm at 3,000rpm
0-100km/h: 6.1 secs
Top Speed: 245km/h
Price: $156,888 with COE (accurate at time of printing)
Distributor: Wearnes Automotive
*This article was first published in 9tro magazine.