When the Megane Mark III was first launched in 2008, followed a mix reactions, loosing its distinctive hatchback looks, but came a new cross hatchback practically with coupe lines. The RS version redesigned front distinctive front splitter integrated with LED daylights, flared arches and side skirts, one piece spoiler and center exit exhaust, was highly recognizable.
Having own a R26, I was expecting this car to be another stunner, but the initial reaction was not quite what I had in mind. A few things were off putting to say the least, the looks were good, I loved the sleek coupe’ish lines, the front splitter gave an aggressive stance and touched up with the integrated LED daylight. Rear end looks urban, small boot lid means that getting things in and out might be more hassle, but there is sufficient space.
The interior was a little confusing, carbon trims, shinny “Piano finished” and chrome plastics, and worst of all the chrome surround on the dials, it looked like a French taxi. The buttons for the climate control and the CD player are small, and needs to get your eyes off the road to find the right button to press.
Initial putter around town weren’t impressive either, the gearbox chunky, feel of the pedals were very light, clutch bite point un-communicative. It really was not leisurely to get it around town. Once the road opened up, change to Sports mode everything changed.
The sports mode changes the engine response and the traction control to sport, snatch into 2nd gear, any revs above 3000rpm, the engine is so responsive, it’s a twin scroll turbo, though you can’t feel it, the power and torque is so linear. It just hurls you along like no other business. The exhaust isn’t exactly the pipes of an opera, but you feel and hear the boost trenching in with a mindful roar. The rev warning beeps, grab 3rd and do it over again, and again. As the speed builds, the chassis and suspension seems to come alive.
Chassis is sturdy, there is less of the tail happiness from R26R, you can just bang it through the gears through a long high speed corner without realizing the actual speed you’re doing, the suspension you can feel it was tuned for “enthusiastic use”, the bound stroke of the suspension travel is very balanced, the rebound stroke seems to give you even more grip as you accelerate, what a fantastic setup and for a front wheel drive “small family” car, not sure what kind of family is that, but hell if that family bought this car, sure they are an exciting family.
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