And now option 3… a Renault Sport Megane.
RENAULT SPORT MEGANE
- Performance by Renault’s F1 boffins built-in, from the factory
- Most modern option – reliability and parts access
- Incredible value for your second-hand dollar
- Exceptionally good community developing for RS cars
- Funky looks
- Most expensive option of the three
- Uninspiring interior
- Takes me outside of my regular car community
Renault are building themselves a serious reputation in the hot hatch market and it’s all down to their Renault Sport range of vehicles. Australians have latched on to this, too, as the land downunder is now Renault Sport’s third biggest market in the world. There’s a growing online and club community developing for these cars and the Saab owners reading this will appreciate what that can mean in terms of the ownership experience.
So what about this Megane?
The styling is divisive, but I really like the bum. It’s not the most practical hatch in the world, but it’s still got some versatility to it. The fact that you can fit a mountain bike in the back should give you an idea of the size.
What’s more important is the stuff under the skin.
How about a 2-litre turbo (in a hatch body style) that makes around 225hp and 310Nm of torque? If that sounds familiar to a Saab fan, it’s because those numbers are very close to Viggen numbers. The bonus with the Megane is that a) it’s tuneable to go even higher, and b) it comes in a chassis that’s already set up in such a way as to get that power to the ground. It’s all about grip.
Garden variety RS Meganes are available for just a little more than I’d spend on a Viggen. If I were to stretch the budget a little more, a version called the F1 Team model would become available, which lifts the bar even higher. It comes standard with some special trim, four-pot Brembos, 18-inch wheels, special exhaust and an all-important limited slip differential.
A Viggen would be a lot more comfortable to live with on a day-to-day basis. But the RS Megane is the more accomplished driver, by a long shot.
The RS Megane is an outsider at this point. I know that if I choose to go this way then I’d have to go for the top spec, the F1 Team model, and I’m not sure I want to spend the extra money at this point.
On the other hand, paying a bit extra now would give me an outstanding driver’s car and it would also save me the future expense of getting another car remotely close to the Megane’s level of handling and performance.
Hmmmmm. This is not the most emotionally engaging option, that’s for sure. But the sheer technical competence alone is quite compelling.