Clocking a lap time of less than eight minutes on the Nürburgring is a real feat in just about any car. But a front-driver? That's the gauntlet that Seat threw down March when it hustled its new Leon Cupra 280 around the Nordschleife in 7:58.4, knocking Renault off its perch for the quickest front-drive lap of the famous German track. In doing so, Seat practically handed Renault – which had claimed the record time and time again – an embossed invitation to beat its time, and Renault was only too happy to oblige.

The French automaker known overseas as le roi des hot-hatches proclaimed in April that it was gunning for a sub-eight-minute lap time of its own, showed us what it was working on in May and revealed the new Mégane 275 Trophy just a month ago. The enhanced hot hatch, we assumed, would be the one with which it would reclaim its title, but that job actually belongs to the even more extreme version you see here.

Called the Mégane RS 275 Trophy-R, Renault's new flagship performance model takes the place once occupied by the previous Mégane R26.R as the ultimate front-drive track tool. Its 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four is tuned to the same 275 horsepower as the aforementioned 275 Trophy and packs the same Cup chassis, limited-slip differential, titanium Akrapovic exhaust, Öhlins adjustable dampers and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, but does away with the rear seats, replaces the front ones with Recaro composite racing buckets and six-point harnesses, fits a lightweight lithium-ion battery and replaces the stock brakes with larger but lighter steel and aluminum discs.

As a result, Renaultsport has managed to trim over 200 pounds off the curb weight, which helped the Trophy-R clock a lap time of 7:54.36, making it 14 seconds quicker than the previous Mégane RS Trophy, over four seconds quicker than the Leon, and the quickest front-drive vehicle ever to lap the Nordschleife. For now, anyway, until Seat takes another stab at it, or another rival (like Honda or Opel) get in on the action.

Renault will only build 250 of these for customers in 15 countries (most if not all of them members of the EU, we're sure), complete with the 19-inch Speedline wheels and optional black, white and red livery pictured here. Watching the footage of the record-setting lap, then, will probably be as close as most of us get to seeing what the new king of the hot hatches can do, so check it out in the video along with the press release below and the fresh gallery of high-resolution images above.
Show full PR text
June 16, 2014
7m54.36s: new lap record at the Nürburgring for Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R

#Under8... Renault Sport vowed it would be done, and the sportiest Mégane has duly added a third lap record round the Nürburgring's legendary Nordschleife to its impressive list of achievements. The feat was accomplished by an all-new limited-edition model imbued with a radical philosophy: Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R.
* 7m54.36s: That is the new lap record for the Nürburgring's iconic north loop – the fearsome Nordschleife – set by Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R in the category for two wheel-drive production vehicles.
* 2: The number of seats in Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R.
* 250: The number of examples of this (ultra) limited-edition series that will go on sale in some 15 countries. Depending on market, a 'record'-specification version of the model will be available from the start of orders. Order books for Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R will open soon in France.

Having established records with Mégane R26.R in 2008 and Mégane R.S. Trophy in 2011, the engineers at Renault Sport were not content to rest upon their laurels. With a lap time of 7m54.36s, Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R engraved its name and performance potential in the Nürburgring's history books right from its very first official outing.

A radical limited-edition, ideal for circuit use
Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R is a two-seater derivative of the recently-introduced Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy.

This exclusive new Renault Sport limited-edition benefits from ultra-sporty features inherited from the brand's racing activities, while a loss of almost 100 kilograms has resulted in enhanced performance.

Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R comes as standard with the Cup chassis (complete with limited-slip differential), the 2.0-litre petrol R.S. engine boosted to 275bhp, a titanium Akrapovic exhaust system, 'Öhlins RoadTrack' one-way adjustable dampers with composite springs and MICHELIN Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres that are specifically-adapted to the car.

Whilst Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R manages without rear seats, in the front can be found Recaro Pôle Position polycarbonate monocoque seats, which yield a weight saving of 42 kilograms. These are fitted with a three-point seat belt, but a six-point harness with aviation-style buckle is available as an accessory. A retention beam and safety nets protect passengers from moving luggage.
For track-day fans eager to gain several vital seconds over the course of a lap, the use of a lithium-ion battery trims the overall weight by another 16 kilograms.

To ensure high-performance braking whilst at the same time contributing to the weight-shedding effort, Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R benefits from a special braking kit. Its 350/28-diameter steel and aluminium discs bring the car's weight down by a further three kilograms. Ideally adapted to intensive circuit use, these Renault Sport-etched brakes endow the vehicle with a sharper bite.

An ultra-sporty stance
On the outside, Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R sports a new two-tone colour scheme, with an Etoilé Black roof mated with a Pearlescent White finish (optional). The Trophy-R branded F1-type front blade, chequered flag graphic at the bottom of the front doors and graphics on the side of the car are all picked out in Vif Red. Finished off with 19-inch black or red Speedline wheel rims, this is a vehicle that sets itself apart as much on the circuit as on the open road.

The exclusivity of Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R similarly stands out in details like its Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel and handbrake bellows, leather gearshift knob and red seatbelts which match the visible stitching of the seats and steering wheel.

7m54.36s: A new record eloquent of Renault Sport's expertise
Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R benefits from the experience acquired by Renault's engine and chassis engineers in motorsport – from rallying to Formula 1.

This 14-seconds improvement on the previous record set by Mégane R.S. Trophy in 2011 was achieved thanks to the commitment of the teams at Renault Sport Technologies and their partners.

Hundreds of hours of prior testing were conducted in France, Spain and Germany to optimise the development of this limited-edition model that boasts exceptional on-road dynamics.

The new lap record established by Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R underscores once again the knowhow and expertise of the specialists at Renault Sport Technologies when it comes to designing outstanding affordable sporting cars.

A comprehensive press pack on the limited-edition Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R and 'the story behind' the new record is available on Renault's media website:
See the video of the lap record on:

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Months Ago
      no way it's naturally aspirated.
      • 6 Months Ago
      so front wheel hatches of today are faster than ferrari's and corvettes from 2-3 generations ago. looking forward to the 2020 Focus STI putting up a faster time than a 458
      • 6 Months Ago
      Awesome - I'm going to paint my wheels red too. Honestly that is f'n amazing. Much of it due to light weight and sticky tires, but still. Faster than a c5 z06, stock c6, f360, f430, 996 Porsche turbo per the wiki times. Looking forward to Honda and upcoming Speed3 times.
      • 6 Months Ago
      It's close to new M4's time
      • 6 Months Ago
      I think they need to splinter the whole Nurburgring records into those for mass produced vehicles, and homologation specials like this built in low volume specifically for the greater notoriety of the donor vehicle such as the Megane. The numbers are certainly impressive, and lord knows you'd have plenty to be proud of should you be lucky enough to snag one of those 250 cars, but stripping out 200 pounds of back seat and car just to build a few race cars and say you beat everyone doesn't really seem in the spirit of things to me. Then again, why not just get a purpose-built RWD or AWD car that can dig even deeper into the 7 minute trough, and you can still keep your back seats, a normal 12 volt battery, and other conveniences stripped from the 275 Trophy-R.
        • 6 Months Ago
        That Megane lap time is pretty fast-- faster than many models of Ferrari, Lotus, Corvette, Porsche, etc. There are only 4 vehicles (in various iterations) that have back seats (at least theoretically) that are faster: 911, GTR, M3 CSL and Camaro Z28. But many of the RWD vehicles that are approximately as fast also are specials with the rear seats, etc. removed. And virtually all the cars that have faster times have over twice as much horsepower (and undoubtedly cost much more).
        • 6 Months Ago
        It could have gone faster it if the track was not wet, and the condition was great for driving at that time.
      • 6 Months Ago
      I wish more auto makers would release special edition cars like this. I bought a Fiesta ST, and would love to see something more hard core. Hoping to see an RS variant soon.
      • 6 Months Ago
      This flimsy French piece of **** costs 36, 430 pounds, which comes out to $61850. Are you ******* kidding me? $62 k (probably more considering that Europeans charge you extra for ordering your car with a steering wheel and a windshield) for this? For that kind of money, you could buy an Evo for the track (7:57 Nurburgring time) as well as a Dodge Grand Caravan for the family.
        • 6 Months Ago
        UK prices can not be compared to US prices. Base Corvettes are $105k. An Evo on the UK site costs 50,000 pounds ($85k) For that, you could get the faster Megane... and a Clio to drive around town.
        • 6 Months Ago
        We get your point, Mr. Nugent.
      • 6 Months Ago
      I doubt the engine is N/A because the Megane RS has a turbo-4. I'm pretty sure the engine is a reworked and remapped version of that.
        • 6 Months Ago
        You can hear the turbo blowing loud and clear. No way it's a NA engine, specially with that kind of a power output (more than an S2000 2 liter which holds the record for an NA production engine).
      • 6 Months Ago
      Knowing this is a harcore version I'm still much more impressed about the Cupra's time. Especially after driving one...What an amazing car with impressive handling totally unknown to VAG products.
        dado rade
        • 6 Months Ago
        Seat is crap car ,I am so glad for the renault record simply beacuse Seat cheated and they hide the fact that Seat was also striped.If you drove one then you should no that normal trophy is faster on track then normal cupra,fact.See the you tube videos.
      • 6 Months Ago
      Wonder what a gutted MS3 or Focus ST with Sport Cup 2 tires would do? My guess is pretty close, for a fraction of the money. These kinds of tests really mean nothing. If I gut a car and race it everyone cries it's modified, if the factory guts a car (and charges more for it) then it's a production car. Oh well, driving a gutted car sucks, and anyone who has ever done it knows it. Under 8mins is great for any car, but I'd much rather do it in something other than a $50k FWD econobox.
        • 6 Months Ago
        not realy ..Cup tires do not help that much.... There is a Focus RS build by Reader Motorsport able to go sub 8:00min with stock engines, but everything elses is improved dramaticly... - KW Clubsport suspension with adjustable mountings - 9,5 x 18 all around - 265/35 Dunlop Semi Slicks - brakes movít 370mm 4piston fixed calipers - light Recaro seats the whole pack setup by a northloop race team knowing exactly what makes a car go fast on the northloop.. and it is extrem expansive... suspension inclunding mounting setup and wheel load adjustment 2.549Euro (incl tax) brakes 2.950Euro wheels 1.750Euro tires 1.716Euro driven by VLN northloop racer Christoph Breuer the car reached a 7:99min
      • 6 Months Ago
      Impressive, but as a Honda fan, I'm saddened! Honda announced way, way, way too early it's goal of setting the FWD 'Ring record with the new Civic Type-R. It may be unattainable at this point IMO, they gave the competition too much notice and it will be exceedingly difficult to put down a sub-7:54 time. Hope I'm wrong and the 'ring special CTR with 360 HP can get it done. I'm sure if it does it will not be by much.
      • 6 Months Ago
      Dude's got to go back to tire mounting school. Star pattern or you risk mounting it crooked.
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