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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy says goodbye with a lasting legacy

Final ever Megane and Renault Sport model says goodbye by taking back its trophy from the Golf 8 GTI.

Saying goodbye is never easy, even more so when the person, or in this case car, has left a lasting legacy over generations dating back more than a decade.

Final farewell

What you are looking at here is the final iteration of the Renault Megane RS that will ever be made. While production actually concluded two years ago, piled-up stock of the RS has remained available for select countries, including South Africa, well after its replacement, the all-electric Megane E-Tech, showed itself in 2022.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Is Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy EDC a Golf GTI killer?

Besides the end of the combustion engine Megane that replaced the 19 in 1995, the end of the current fourth generation that debuted back in 2016 also brings the curtain down on the Renault Sport name that has featured on every iteration bar the original.

Renault Megane RS final road test
Facelift in 2020 saw the LED taillights revised and the bumper slightly revised.

Restructured in 2021 under the revived Alpine brand, four years after the marque made its comeback on the A110, the RS division officially ceased to exist at the end of 2023 just as the final batch of Meganes were being delivered to their respective markets.

Still select but for more

In the case of the South Africa, where every generation of RS has been sold until now, a line-up pruning in 2020 before its one and only mid-life facelift saw all of the conventional models being phased-out and the RS 300 Trophy, which replaced the RS 280 Lux and Cup in 2018, reinstated as the sole Megane derivative.

At the time, only seven examples of the most powerful Megane ever made were approved for the local market, three equipped with the six-speed manual gearbox, and two with the six-speed EDC priced at R774 900 and R799 900 respectively.

Driving the Renault Megane RS one last time
Three-tier RS specific LED fog lamp design will also bow-out with the RS.

Despite initial reports suggesting the final farewell Ultime would be offered following the announcement of RS coming to an end, Renault South Africa opted instead for a more discreet goodbye by securing a final batch of 55 Trophys, all fitted with the EDC, and priced at an eye-watering R899 900.

Since then, that sticker has increased to R949 999, which officially makes the last Megane RS and Renault Sport model the third most expensive hot hatch in South Africa after the Honda Civic Type R (R999 990) and Audi RS3 Sportback (R1 296 500).

Renault Megane RS final road test
RS badge has been part of all but the very first generation Megane.

Pricier not only than the Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI, but also the four-wheel-drive Golf 8 R, Toyota GR Corolla and Audi S3, the Megane RS 300 Trophy is by logical reason a no-brainer for not only being dated, but insanely expensive and comparatively underpowered against its opposition.

In typical RS fashion though, the fundamental flaws that have accompanied every generation pales into insignificance when you get behind the wheel.

Stare and then some more

Signalled-out for its styling ever since premiering at the Frankfurt Motor Show seven years ago, the RS’ metamorphosis from 280 to has been minor and nowhere the flamboyance of past generation Red Bull models or even the admittedly track-focused second generation RS26.R.

Taking a lead out of the previous generation 275 Trophy’s book, Renault has equipped the 300 with red Brembo brake calipers, a grey checkered RS logo on the front wings, 300 Trophy decals at the base of the rear doors and on the rear bumper, plus a red checkered logo on the gloss black grille.

Driving the Renault Megane RS one last time
Standard red accented 19-inch Jerez alloy wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza S001 tyres doesn’t hold back in the aesthetic department.

Rounded off by red accented 19-inch Jerez alloy wheels that reduces weight by a claimed two kilograms per corner, the aesthetic gains, on paper, adds little emphasis to what has always been a dramatic looking model in both standard and hotted-up guise.

However, when viewed in person, the adds-on unlock a sense of hype and arguably, a sense of urge to get behind the wheel and nail the accelerator.  

While the Pearl White paint option our tester arrived in isn’t as eye pleasing as the signature RS Liquid Yellow or Orange Tonic, its execution works well against the various red fittings in ultimately creating what is still a visual stunner advanced by its age.

Interior has its quirks

A different story resides inside where no amount of tasteful extras can hide the Megane RS 300 Trophy’s age – the most prominent being the laggy interface of the seven-inch R-Link infotainment system that froze more than twice during the weeklong tenure.

On the dated side despite the inclusion of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, but strangely no more satellite navigation, the system’s workings require familiarisation and while it provides the gateway to the Arkamys sound system, no amount of adjusting could improve the audio’s quality on the daily commute.

Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy road test
Interior remains as racy as ever though in places, its age is showing.

What’s more, the materials, especially on the centre console, felt on the clunky side and while space up front proved sufficient, the lingering issue that has accompanied the Megane since its launch, tight rear passenger space, remains with headroom being the biggest gripe.

This, along with a specification sheet that seems intentionally meagre to keep the price down, all but threatens to spoil the RS’s goodbye when you get inside. Fortunately, this isn’t case.

Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy road test South Africa
Part leather and Alcantara manual RS seats are unsurprisingly firm, but comfortably snug and with more than enough support.

For its final encore, Renault has trimmed the heated RS sport seats in Alcantara and partial leather, while adding red stitch work and RS embroidered headrests.

Together with a grippy RS steering wheel, also clad in Alcantra, an imitation alloy gear knob and a conspicuous button on the centre console marked RS Modes, plus the massive gear shift paddles behind the wheel, the lack of specification becomes less of a worry with the starter button pressed and the EDC’s lever select to drive.

Now, let’s drive

While still fitted with a stiffer Cup suspension, launch control and the 4Control rear-wheel steering system, Renault has complimented the Brembo stoppers with a retuned exhaust system resplendent with a new internal valve design is says reduces flow resistance.

The other side of this is a metallic and angry soundtrack that goes against every principle of what the now SUV-styled Megane E-Tech represents.

Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy road test South Africa
Six-speed EDC now the sole transmission option and while slick, still exhibits a drag sensation at low speeds.

Producing an unchanged 221kW/420Nm from the 1.8-litre turbocharged engine that first debuted in the Alpine A110, the response is momentarily blighted not only by low-down turbo lag, but also the EDC being on the hesitant side.

Saddled with a typical early generation dual-clutch ‘box drag sensation when setting off, the tranny is more accomplished on the move, though for the full brutal effect, flicking the paddles is a must and an injustice if not utilised at all.

Hunting GTI

Its ride unashamedly as a result of the Cup chassis and the steering set-up for track precession as evident by its sharp response and feedback, the most important test still awaited the Trophy as up until now, its performance at Gerotek had been limited to the manual, which sprinted from 0-100 km/h in 5.9 seconds.

Bettered later by the Golf 8 GTI, the promise of the auto ‘box, and therefore no delay that comes with the manual, had all the makings of the RS bludgeoning the former one last time.

Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy road test
Seven-inch R-Line infotainment system hails from a bygone age, but becomes easy to fathom if not immediately.

With Road Test Editor Mark Jones behind the wheel, launch control engaged and the RS Mode button, which forms of the Multi-Sense drive mode selector, switched from Sport to Race, the Trophy managed to reclaim its title from the GTI, but by a margin smaller than expected.

Despite being privy to a Torsen mechanical limited-slip differential, the Trophy’s tendency to spin all its power away through the front wheels saw it record a best time, accompanied by the exhaust emitting cracks and bangs that would be called otherworldly, evil and rude, of 5.85 seconds.

Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy road test
By modern standards, the digital instrument cluster is basic but looks neat and can be customised.

Amounting to a three-tenths gain over the GTI and five-tenths over the manual, the clocked time did fail to match Renault’s 5.7 second claim, though as Mark later pointed it, required a fair amount of skill to obtain due to the tyres scrabbling for grip off the line with, as the nomenclature points out, 300 pferdestarke (PS) going to the front wheels.

Besides the ride, switching the grin, white-knuckle inducing Multi-Sense system back to Comfort doesn’t come with a lot of reduction in noise, which will prove either annoying or the opposite in everyday mode.

Renault Megane RS final road test
RS 300 Trophy replaced the standard RS 280 outright four years ago.

Given the Trophy’s supposed purpose though, and likely use as a second vehicle or a toy, this won’t matter much to the 55 buyers who will own one.

At the same time, the best indicated fuel consumption figure of 9.6 L/100 km won’t matter either, though despite being well off Renault’s claimed 8.1 L/100 km, still made for an impressive showing after the weeklong stay over 654 km had finished.


Stereotypes surrounding French cars are common place and while some are often proven wrong, what remains is their ability to inject a unique type of excitement into an everyday product.

Long present in past Renault Sport models from the Megane to the power-crazed mid-engine Clio V6, the farewell to the division and the former nameplate is again a clear testament of this mantra.

Driving the Renault Megane RS one last time
Renault Sport division has already been rebranded to Alpine, with the Megane being its final point of reference.

An unashamed old-school hot hatch that thrills, encourages hard treatment to give its driver the absolute maximum it has on offer, and one you just want to drive and drive some more, its pending demise isn’t being looked forward regardless of how flawed continues to be in some areas.

What it continues to have though is a feel good factor and although set to be felt only by those willing to part with almost R1-million for a Renault, it is a tearful but honourable and special goodbye to a icon solidified in history as the one that went against the rules and come out with the trophy in hand.

Road Test Data

NOW READ: No last hurrah yet: Revised Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy priced

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