I discovered the French sense of humor piloting the new Renault Megane 250 Cup through the Scottish Highlands. When I inadvertently induced a lift-off oversteer situation, I found myself staring at an oncoming tractor through a strategically placed EuroNCAP 5-star crash rating sticker on the windscreen. The team at Renaultsport might have made one of the finest hot hatches on the market today (again!), yet its nice to know that the engineers at Renault in Paris crafted a safety cage among the best on the continent to protect you when your talent runs out, whether you impact a tractor, hedge, or stray Italian.
Driving the Renault Mégane R26.R on the snow-covered L-10–a public road-cum-rally track near the famous Nürburgring–is an unforgettable affair. And not simply because summer tires and slush don’t mix. This particular Mégane is a stunning piece of machinery in any condition: no Stateside machine comes even remotely close. And unlike most European unobtainium, it’s no sculpted, Teutonic monument to cash-flow either. It’s French. Cheap gas, Japanese quality and the Detroit-centric Eisenhower Interstate System have given Americans no reasons to contemplate, let alone lust after, French cars in the modern era, but not having this Ferrari-killing hatchback on crack is a bummer. The Mégane R26.R is so wrong it’s gotta be right.