The Renault Megane RS Trophy-R, the front-drive performance hatchback that has just set the lap record (see video below) for its class around Germany’s Nurburgring circuit, will go on sale in New Zealand early next year.
“We haven’t got any exact dates yet but the Trophy-R will be here in the New Year,” said Renault NZ spokesman Sal Marti.
The limited-edition variant won’t be the only Megane RS on offer either. “We’re going to cater for every Megane RS taste,” he said.
The five-door line-up consists of the RS Sport and RS Cup, which went on sale here in March, the RS Trophy and the RS Trophy-R. The Sport and the Cup both run a boosted 1.8-litre inline four-cylinder engine delivering 205kW/390Nm.
The difference between the two is mostly the Cup’s $1800 performance package, which adds beefier brakes, a limited-slip differential, and stiffer suspension.
The Trophy and Trophy-R are different beasts altogether. Both run the same 1.8-litre engine, reworked to deliver 223kW. But Renault engineers slashed 130kg from the Trophy-R’s weight, re-tuned its chassis, and adopted performance parts from the likes of Akrapovic (exhaust), Ohlins (shocks), Sabelt (seating), Brembo (brakes), and Bridgestone (tyres).
Engineers also fitted the Trophy-R’s turbo with Formula One-style ceramic ball bearings, which engineers say cuts friction by more than 30 per cent over a traditional system. The change allows the turbo to spool up faster, cutting turbo lag and boosting acceleration.
It is the weight loss and quicker-acting turbo that the same engineers say helped the Trophy-R overtake the Honda Civic Type R as the fastest performance hatchback around Nurburgring.
The Trophy-R, driven by Renault Formula One team pilot Nico Hulkenberg (pictured above), completed an official full lap of the Nurburgring in 7 minutes 40.1 seconds, three seconds quicker than the Honda Civic Type R’s 7 minutes 43.8 seconds.
No word yet on NZ price or build numbers for the Trophy-R. The standard Megane RS Sport costs $59,990 for the six-speed manual and $62,990 for the dual-clutch automatic. The RS Cup car is $1800 on top of that.