When you think ‘performance car’, it tends to evoke thoughts of Italian supercars, German muscle cars or even Japanese turbo pocket rockets. So it might come as a surprise to learn that the fastest and most powerful production car in the world is actually French.
The Bugatti Chiron was designed and built in the quiet little town of Molsheim in France, close to the German border with a population of fewer than 10,000 residents.
But that isn’t France’s only claim to performance pedigree, with twelve F1 Championships wins as engine manufacturer in Formula One under its belt, it’s safe to say that French carmaker Renault knows a thing or two about building performance cars as well.
Which brings me to the 2015 Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy.
As the world of hot-hatches goes high-tech, the Megane RS 275 Trophy is one of the last honest front-wheel-drive performance cars. No fancy dual-clutch transmissions, adaptive electronic dampers here – it’s just a proper analog hot-hatch with plenty of grunt.
The 275 Trophy is a special limited edition version of the already capable Megane RS – but Renault haven’t just thrown a few stickers and a gear knob on the car and called it a day (although the 275 Trophy does have both of those).
There are a whole host of proper performance goodies both inside and out that make the 2015 Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy a much more appealing performance hot-hatch.
The most obvious enhancements are inside the cabin which is covered in Alcantara trim, including the steering wheel and handbrake below, as well as a Zamac gear lever knob.
The highlight though has to be the gorgeous leather and Alcantara Recaro bucket seats with visible red stitching which look as though they have been lifted straight from an Italian supercar.
Outside, the 275 Trophy gets a special limited edition livery including Trophy branding on the Platinum Grey F1-type front blade, while the personalised body sides feature Trophy decals.
But it’s underneath the car where the 275 Trophy hides its pièce de résistance.
Renault Sport and Akrapovič, the manufacturer of exhaust systems for motorcycles and performance cars, have crafted a special titanium exhaust system for the 275 Trophy which finishes with a rather stealthy carbon exhaust tail pipe.
While not only being lightweight, the thin-walled titanium exhaust system produces a raucous bark that resembles an Italian supercar or sports bike.
The Cup chassis with limited slip differential and performance suspension deliver a razor-sharp package with a surprisingly refined ride.
With only 100 examples of the 2015 Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy ever sold in Australia, and even fewer of those finished in this striking Liquid Yellow exterior – I’m tipping it to be a future collectors car for the discerning performance car buyer.