Just looking at the Renault Megane RS Monaco GP’s spec sheet is enough to make any petrol-head drool. The turbocharged 2-litre motor produces a healthy 250bhp and 340Nm.
The suspension is suitably stiff, and the beefy brakes and their red callipers are from Brembo. Targeted at purists, this Gallic rocket is only available with a 6-speed manual gearbox.
Though mechanically similar to the Megane RS, this special edition – created to pay homage to Formula One’s glamorous Monaco Grand Prix – differs from the regular RS models with its pearlescent white exterior and 19-inch, diamond-finished wheels.
To ensure uniformity, the white colour is also replicated on the dashboard trim, door handles and seat belts. For added refinement, the lovely Recaro seats are now upholstered in leather, while the steering wheel and gearshift knob are both accented with grey stitching.
Getting behind the helm makes you feel all revved up, but this emotion begins to ebb the moment you fire up the engine. There’s no bark, and even as you start to move off, you’re only greeted by a vaguely sporty-sounding exhaust. Whip it and there’s no aural reward, but close to 6000rpm you will hear some popping noises.
To get more out of the car, you’ll need to pull over, set the parking brake and do some puzzle solving: Pressing the right combination of audio (yes, audio) controls located on the steering column accesses the Renault Sport Monitor (displayed on the dash console’s centre screen), which lets users tweak the throttle mapping.
Choose “Extreme” (the default setting is Sport) and the car turns into a hairier beast. Acceleration is more urgent, and the exhaust note finally becomes a tad more forthcoming. Working your way through the ratios is now pleasurable, despite the clutch’s high-ish biting point and the notchy gearbox.
Notwithstanding the relatively long transmission ratios, this hot hatch still has great pick-up thanks to the bountiful torque output.
The only missing ingredient, then, is the soundtrack. Driving this special edition is like watching an action movie without the requisite fast-paced music and gunfire.
Listed at $168,888, it would be great if the $6k premium it commands over the normal Megane RS included a racier exhaust.
Renault Megane RS Monaco GP 2.0
ENGINE 1998cc, 16-valves, inline-4, turbocharged
MAX POWER 250bhp at 5500rpm
MAX TORQUE 340Nm at 3000rpm
GEARBOX 6-speed manual
0-100KM/H 6.1 seconds
TOP SPEED 245km/h
CONSUMPTION 11.9km/L (combined)
PRICE INCL. COE $168,888 (as of November 2011)