Fifth Gear host Tiff Needell had such a good time throwing the Renault Sport Megane 265 Trophy around the track that it made him ask a silly question. Could the 261-horsepower, front-wheel drive, four-seat hot hatch lap quicker than the 324-hp, rear-wheel drive, two-seat Nissan 370Z?

This version of the Renault lapped the Nürburgring in 8:07.97, the quickest front-wheel-drive road car on the timing sheet. Even so, 63 hp down and more than 70 pounds heavier by gross weight, one could expect the Megane to have a hard time even keeping up with the Z. But on a wet track and at the hands of Subaru Rally driver and James Bond stunt driver Mark Higgins (he of the epic Isle of Man save), expectations have a way of going sideways.

Follow the jump for the video to find out which one is more fun and which one is quicker.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 53 Comments
      Andre Lavoie
      • 3 Years Ago
      Interesting result. I'd like to see how they both perform in dry conditions though.
        Michael Bertovich
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andre Lavoie
        well the wrong wheel drive wouldn't have an advantage, and the hot hatch crowd couldn't say "AH HA! WE FINALLY BEAT SOMETHING OTHER THAN DOG FARTS!"
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Michael Bertovich
          I'm fairly sure the Megane would still be faster around a track than the 370Z. Here's a list of cars that the Megane is faster than around the Nurburgring Nordschleife (starting with the fastest): -Audi RS4 -BMW M6 -Honda NSX-R -Porsche Boxster S -Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG -BMW 1M (probably the Megane's closest competitor on this list)
          xfrgtr
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Michael Bertovich
          On a dry track the 370 is faster. http://www.fastestlaps.com/comparisons/nissan_370z-vs-renault_megane_rs_265_trophy.html
          Justin Campanale
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Michael Bertovich
          Elmo, that all sounds too good to be true. I seriously doubt that it could wallop an NSX-R or M6. Maybe the WRX, Golf R, or MS3 if it's lucky. Would you mind proving us with a source?
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Michael Bertovich
          Justin, all you have to do is look up the Nurburgring Nordschleife production car lap times. They're all over the place. Why would I lie about that list?
      Atomohawk
      • 3 Years Ago
      seems like an interesting match-up since Nissan and Renault are sister companies... and just think... the Megane would be a great rebadge or replacement the the Nissan Sentra for here in the States. one could dream....
      Gilberto Cedolia
      • 3 Years Ago
      On paper the 370 should take this yet it's outpaced by 2 seconds at the hands of a skilled driver (ceteris paribus surface conditions). I'm reading a lot of "RWD cars are faster. period" and "5th Gear is biased" etc. Yet, no one has elaborated on TIFF's observation on the car's handling, i.e. "it understeers into corners and oversteers out of them". The 370Z is a fantastic car, great bang for your buck, boy racer and all but its FR setup and weight distribution? has let it down in this race. Is 330hp better? Yes. Is it more fun to to power slide? Yes. Did either of those fun factors help it win? No. Replace the wet surface variable with tyre degradation over a proper race and you'd probably see the same results in the dry.
      Michael Bertovich
      • 3 Years Ago
      Cool renault. I'd take the datsun every day of the week, because of incredibly biased fanboyism running through my veins.
      Kris
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm not surprised.
      Justin Campanale
      • 3 Years Ago
      Both are amazing cars in their own way, but I'd probably take the 370Z. In dry conditions it would almost definitely have better lap times and performance than the Renault, plus it looks better. It would also probably suffer from less torque steer. Don't get me wrong though, the Renault is an amazing machine that can easily stand up to the WRX, Golf R , focus St, and MS3.
      dondonel
      • 3 Years Ago
      street tires vs race-like tires, that's all there was
        Filipe Da Costa
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dondonel
        I do have a Trophy and I can guarantee you that the Bridgestone potenza tires really s*** in the wet. Didn't have the pleasure to drive the 370z yet, but will give it a try next year ...
          Phontsolo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Filipe Da Costa
          Man... lucky lucky you for owning a Trophy.
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dondonel
        The tires are also on the car from the factory. Therefore, these cars were compared with factory options.
      Kris
      • 3 Years Ago
      I read a lot of "it was wetter for the Nissan's lap and other excuses" comments here and it seams that most of you people see what you like to see. If you were watching carefully you would've see that there were parts from the Nissan's lap where the track was drier and it was sunny. Have you ever heard about the magic of editing? The lap you see is not one fast lap, it's composed from many different laps shot at different time. The time you see is not one lap time. Usually they make at least 3 laps and take the fastest. Stop talking s**t 'cause I can assure you the times are legit no matter you like it or not. No body is biased here and no body is twisting the truth. Why is so hard to believe that FWD car can be fast. Don't you watch BTCC? They have the same tyres, weight and pretty similar engine's performance, and FWD cars smack RWD on regular basis.
        Du K
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kris
        Yes, you are right but there is no denying the fact that in the dry with 330+ horsepower on tap (unlike in the wet) and tons more grip that the Z has to offer, the Z would win hands down. Truth is, no rwd cars like the wet, even slightly wet when being pushed.
          Jose Miguel Lara
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Du K
          even great FWD hatches (like gti) transform to AWD to be more performance oriented (r32) even Audi does it, Acura does it, the all do it for a damn reason, while I love my MS3, saying that a fwd can smack rwd car on a regular basis is completely wrong unless its a really wet lap.
          Kris
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Du K
          Guys, check this out and see all these fast cars that are slower than the Renault: http://www.fastestlaps.com/tracks/nordschleife.html When it comes to lap times there is much more to consider than power, drivetrain and weather. This car is simply build to be fast. Disregard your prejudice against FWD cars and realize it already the Megane is one pretty damn fast car. @Jose Miguel Lara, since you mentioned it VW's direct competitor to this car equipped with the "almighty" Haldex AWD Golf R which have almost identical power to weight ratio and accelerates much faster in straight line than the Renault is 15 seconds - again - 15 SECONDS SLOWER than the Megane around Nordschleife. What excuse you'll find about this? Really, I'm curious.
          Kris
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Du K
          Forgot to mention that the Glof was driven by Hans Joachim Stuck who beside his Formula 1 experience has 20 (twenty) 24 Hours of Nürburgring races with three 1st, two 2nd and one 3rd places behind his back.
      Corey Allen
      • 3 Years Ago
      So the real question is where is our Sentra version of the Sport Megane? Same cars just different body's, Sentra NISMO Type V should be a twin to this car. As well I'd bet good money the 370z would own the Megane on a nice dry track.
        KAG
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Corey Allen
        We need a new Sentra already, and they need to stick the Juke motor in it
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Corey Allen
        If a 507hp car can't beat it around the Nurburgring, then a 324hp one wouldn't be able to. Here's a list of cars that the Megane is faster than around the Nurburgring Nordschleife (starting with the fastest): -Audi RS4 -BMW M6 -Honda NSX-R -Porsche Boxster S -Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG -BMW 1M (probably the Megane's closest competitor on this list)
          xfrgtr
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          Track 370Z Megane RS 265 Trophy Hockenheim Short 1:16.00 1:16.40 Raceland 0:56.10 0:56.49 Anglesey National 1:05.20 1:05.30
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          Ok, then it matches the 370Z from the numbers you posted. 4 tenths separate them at Hockenheim, 3 tenths at Raceland, and 1 tenth at Anglesey. All can be made up with a few things done to the tire pressure and the way the driver drives the car.
      Jose Miguel Lara
      • 3 Years Ago
      i'd like to pull my BS card out, how do u compare a laptime from a FWD Hatch car in mildly wet track to a RWD Gt Car in really wet lap? i love FWD, but its never the same as RWD... Fifth Gear is very biased.
        Litespeed Racing
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jose Miguel Lara
        the track did look a lot worst during the 370z's lap. I had a mildly tuned VW GTI(FWD turbo hatch) about 250hp, and I have a 370z. The the GTI was a lot of fun, but the 370z is faster for sure.
      David J. Bernstein
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'll gladly take the Renault Sport Megane any day over the Nissan 370Z. Nissan hasn't produced a good-looking car in years. The 370Z is hideously ugly so was the 350Z. Great cars, great performance and great value, but ugly beyond belief.
      ravenosa
      • 3 Years Ago
      Cool video but dragging your rear tires around with a FWD car isn't "drifting"...
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