FIT FOR PURPOSES

RENAULT MEGANE

ANDY ENRIGHT

REPORT FOUR

RENAULT MEGANE RS280 CUP

Price as tested: $50,180

This month: 1619km @ 7.3L/100km

FAR BE IT from me to perpetuate national stereotypes, but French cars haven’t always had the most unblemished record of reliability. Let’s just say that they can keep you involved, such are their often novel engineering approaches.

Paul Magès, the inventor of Citroen’s fiendishly complex hydropneumatic suspension, had a plaque on his desk which read, ‘Everyone thought it was impossible, except an idiot who did not know and who created it.’ Yet this month, the Megane seems to have soldiered on indefatigably. Even the insidiously deflating tyres seem to have waved the white flag and started behaving. So, a clean bill of health – which can’t be said of all the long-termers in the Wheels garage. Looking at you, Mercedes-Benz A250. Okay, so the Merc had fallen victim to editor Inwood’s obsessive-compulsive lugholes, but sometimes you have to wing in an outrageous claim and hope it sticks.

Also praying for a certain level of adhesion were our video team, who co-opted me and the Megane for a training day demonstrating camera rigging techniques to our newer hires.

I trust that they didn’t actually review the footage shot on the day, because the Renault’s not the ideal camera car. The Cup chassis is so firm that any takes would probably look like something the Blair Witch Project would reject as too jumpy. Still, it was huge fun to pedal around in pursuit of a fast subject, the Megane being the only car in the Wheels car park that could have kept up with a supercar on a properly challenging road.

The Meg’s also been pushed into service as a bit of a load lugger this month. Running repairs to the gardens at home have seen it loaded to the gunwales with bags of paver sand, mulch and potting mix. This has revealed an unexpected bonus. With the rear seats folded down, the cabin is far, far noisier, and noisier in a good way. The pops and crackles from the exhaust sound that much sharper and there’s a more purposeful resonance about the newly enlarged cabin. They’re staying folded from now on.

I’m now looking towards the end of my stewardship of ARQ325 and I’ve got to formulate an opinion on it for the farewell piece next month. It’s not going to be easy. If it was couched in terms of a relationship, you’d have to say ‘it’s complicated’. Nevertheless, I owe it to the orange Renault to see it go out on a high, so check back here next issue, because I’m going to subject it to something a bit special for its send-off. One thing’s for sure. Life’s rarely dull with a Megane RS.

ANDY ENRIGHT