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Motoring: Mégane's racing demon

2015-10-05 12:29

Renault Mégane Sport 275 Trophy 2.0 Turbo

Price: R449 900

‘Boy racer”, a man in a BMW 3 Series hisses through his open window as I screech to a stop while taking the French renegade that is the Renault Mégane Trophy out for a spin around town on a sweltering Jozi afternoon.

Who, moi? The last time I looked, I thought I was a chick, but since there’s no official definition for a girl racer, I’m forced to go to the internet (while the robot’s still red, of course) for a definition.

Boy racer: A youth or young man fond of driving very fast and aggressively in high-powered cars.

I shrug my shoulders, rev my hot hatch and stop myself from showing the Beamer a middle finger as I press my RS drilled-aluminium pedals down, zip into first with the RS aluminium gear lever and take off – 0-100km/h in 4.2 seconds.

It’s hard not to channel one’s inner prat in this car.

As I whizz on to the highway, it becomes apparent that the French manufacturer – with 38 years of Formula 1 expertise – has managed to harness all its technical wizardry to produce this 2-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol dynamo, and has created a 201kW driver’s dream car.

And, to perfectly brandish its heritage, the aerodynamic, F1-styled splitter – with 275 Trophy lettering on the front bumper, the rear diffuser and lip spoiler – make sure this baby owns the fast lane.

Gorgeous halogen headlights with white reflective inserts, Trophy striping on the rear quarter panels, 19-inch black Trophy aluminium alloy rims with red Brembo brake calipers and gloss-black external mirrors complete the track-inspired look.

Plus there’s a whole lot of supersmart technology that comes standard with the Trophy, including a Carminat TomTom navigation system, Renault hands-free key card and remote card for central locking, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, CD, MP3 and USB auxiliary ports, and multimode ESP with Normal, Sport and Race modes.

But it’s the thunderous noise that really tugs at my speedy ventricles.

The titanium exhaust system designed by Akrapovic, a Slovenian company well known for its acoustic work on motorcycles and performance cars, makes sure there is no leaving or arriving quietly with this enfant terrible.

I decide to show my cool cred off and roar off to pick up my two sons. The rear seat is not too difficult for a 17-year-old to get into with a practical 60/40 split/fold combination. According to the shouts and woahs that come from the rear seats, it’s clear this is no silky-smooth Mercedes-Benz S-Class ride. Through the speed bump-riddled suburban streets of Parkhurst, each pothole and hump can be felt in the lumbar region.

As hard as I tried, I didn’t manage to get the fuel consumption figures the French manufacturer claims: 7.5 litres/100km. I’m lucky to bring her in at 12 litres or 13 litres.

“But that’s because you are driving this car like a real boy racer,” my older son, James, says disapprovingly.

I have to shove my hand under my derrière so that I don’t show him that middle finger.

As I take my final exhilarating race around town, I’m glad that Renault offers free advanced driver training, including high-performance racetrack and skidpan courses, because, in the wrong hands, this baby could be deadly.

Thankfully, there are plenty of safety features, including electronic stability control, anti-slip, anti-skid, understeer control, tyre pressure monitor and six crash bags (front, side, curtain).

I decide to go for a few sessions of therapy after I hand the keys of the Trophy back. Not so much to address the feelings of loss and separation anxiety that flood in, but rather for that middle-finger tendency that now seems to have developed a life of its own. Blame it on the Trophy

October 13 2019