Hottest Mégane RS 265 specs revealed

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Even though car model mid-life facelifts almost always involve the same miserable raft of headlight tweaks, LED additions, bumper re-profiles and interior trim additions, very occasionally they involve something exciting.

That's what's happened with the Renaultsport Mégane. Yep, as the new name alludes, the hottest Mégane now has 265 metric horsepower, which in British is 261bhp. That's up from 247bhp in the original car, but the same power as the limited edition recent Trophy version.

Two versions are available, as before: the stripped-out Cup, at a shade under £25,000, and the standard 265, for just over £26,000. The difference is that the Cup has less kit and a more focused chassis, including stiffer springs and dampers, a tighter anti-roll bar, better brakes and, vitally, a corner munching limited slip differential.

The Cup pack can be bought for the better-specified 265 for an extra grand or so, also including matte black 18-inch wheels and stickier tyres.

One of the primary differences with the facelifted car is the addition of a Sport mode, which unlocks the extra power. As standard the car runs with the same old 247bhp, but hit the Sport button and the full 261bhp is unleashed as well as an extra few lb.ft of torque, so the car feels altogether punchier. Sport mode makes the exhaust louder too.

The power hike, which comes courtesy of a revised air intake and greater turbo boost pressure for the 2.0-litre turbo engine, lops a tenth off the 0-62mph time, which now happens in six seconds flat.

An exciting new colour, white, is added to the options list, and four new alloy wheel designs, two of them 19 inches big. The cabin gets a re-trim too, obviously, including red stitching throughout the cabin and red seat belts, or yellow ones if optional Recaro front seats are specified.

The car hits showrooms in April, with Renault offering a PCP deal that will put a Cup on your drive for a £419 deposit and £419 per month. Seems reasonable.