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My weekend with the Trophy R

Renault Sport Cars





I posted this on my Instagram feed last week ( fanatical_andy_rs ) but thought I would share it here as well.

Last week I had the awesome Trophy R for the weekend, 

I’ve had a lot of people ask me about the Trophy R and how it compares to my Trophy, so I’ve tried to put a few thoughts together below. Unfortunately I’m not able to articulate myself quite like an Evo journalist and I’m no Chris Harris behind the wheel either, but I do love a fast Megane….

I should also add that as a life long Renaultsport fan and a bit of a Megane RS fan (Trophy is my 5th Megane RS), well, I was always going to love it wasn’t I…

Renault UK’s transporter delivered RS19 REN to my work on Friday morning, this is in fact the very car driven by Chris Harris on Top Gear and featured in many a magazine article. So this is one of two UK ‘Ring’ spec cars with the carbon ceramic brakes, it was delivered to me on the standard red Fujilight alloys, rather than the carbon wheels, which was actually okay by me to be honest. The carbon wheels are obviously another 2kg lighter each and uber cool, but damaging or kerbing one of them doesn’t bear thinking about, so red Fuji’s was absolutely fine by me

Without stating the glaringly obvious, the thing that you immediately notice most when first driving the R is how much lighter it feels than the Trophy, I thought the reduced weight was really noticeable, 130kg is a fair bit I guess. I also think it rides slightly better and feels a touch more compliant on the Ohlins suspension, much like the Mk3 on Ohlins did compared to a standard cup pack Mk3 RS.

On roads I know well on the way down to Goodwood, it felt absolutely ballistic! The way you can peddle this car down a county road is unbelievable, the Trophy is no slouch, but the way it grips and changes direction, does make the R feel on another level.

The Akrapovic does sound great too, pops and burbles aplenty, it’s not especially louder than the Trophy, which does sound pretty good anyway, but has a different, slightly more ‘metallic’ tone to it, much like it did on the Mk3 RS, I always enjoyed the Akrapovic on my Cup-S.

The carbon ceramic brakes on this car are unbelievably powerful, a bit sensitive and take a bit of getting used to as they are a bit grabby, but no denying how quickly they will bring you to a halt! 

Not sure you’d need the ceramics for the road though, standard Bi-material brakes on the Trophy brakes do a pretty fine job on spirited road driving for me, I’m sure the ceramics would absolutely come into their own on the track though.

I’ve always liked the 4-Control on the Trophy, feels perhaps a little odd at first, but you soon get used to it and I think it makes it feel really agile in the tight and twisty stuff. Not long after I took delivery last year I drove up to Scotland and did the NC500, I really bonded with it during the trip and found it fantastically enjoyable on some of the tight, often single track roads up there.

I must admit, now, having driven the R for several hundred miles, I did actually come away wondering if the Mk4 RS did actually need 4-Control in the first place... The R just feels a bit more agile and has a bit more ‘fizz’ about it.

Of corse, it is pretty hardcore, so if you like your creature comforts, use it daily and need the back seat practicality, then it certainly won’t be for you.  I’m not going to talk about the cost either, it certainly isn’t cheap of course, but it does rather irritate me when I hear the usual ‘72 grand for a Renault’ nonsense.

The R&D to produce such a specialist car like this in such small numbers isn’t cheap and one look at the individual cost of the bespoke parts used (Sabelt seats, Ohlins suspension etc) it’s easy to see how it adds up. Check the options list of Audi and BMW to see how much a ceramic brake option is, have a look at how much a carbon wheel direct from Carbon Revolution costs, you get the picture, isn’t it just great that Renault, in this day and age, actually made a car like this!

As Jack Rix of Top Gear said:

‘When you’re the only company that has the balls to pull something like this off, well I reckon you can charge whatever the hell you like’

If I had the money (damn COVID-19 has ruined everything), I’d buy a standard Trophy R tomorrow and keep it forever.

Massive thanks to Ali Sommerville and the Renault UK press team for the opportunity.

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