Nurburgring king: Trophy-R version of Renault Sport Megane revealed


Megane RS Trophy-R Nurgburgring

The new Renault Sport Megane R.S. Trophy-R has been revealed, and straight out of the blocks, it’s a Nurburgring lap record holder.

Once again, Renault has toppled the Honda Civic Type R for honours as the fastest front-wheel-drive hot hatch around the Nordschleife.

The time: a swift 7 minutes 40.1 seconds. It follows in the footsteps of past hardcore Meganes – the R26.R and Trophy R – cars that took the Nurburgring record in their day.

What makes the new Megane Trophy-R a Nurburgring champ?

Renault Megane RS Trophy-R lap record


The car was driven by Laurent Hurgon, the race ace who also took two previous hardcore Meganes to their respective Nurburgring lap records, with the new Meg undergoing a few changes to transform it into a Ring champ.

Three areas were addressed by the team at Renault Sport: maximum weight reduction, reworked aerodynamics and ‘a radical development of its drive axels’, including how the car is suspended and how power is distributed at the front.

Chief among changes to the new 2019 Megane R.S. Trophy-R is a significant weight reduction. All in, you can have up to 130kg lopped off the kerb weight of your Megane.

The specifics of that weight reduction aren’t yet known, but you can bet the Sabelt bucket seats, new wheels and the special Akrapovic exhaust will have played a part.

New Megane RS Trophy-R Ring record


Renault has also partnered with Bridgestone for the tyres on the Trophy-R. Previous ‘ultimate version’ Meganes have used Toyo R888 (2008’s R26.R) and Pirelli P-Zero Trofeo R (2014’s Trophy R) rubber respectively. Both were integral to their record-breaking ‘Ring laps.

In common with the last Trophy-R, Renault has partnered with Ohlins for the car’s trick damping, while Brembo has provided the car’s upgraded braking system.

An aggressive exterior makeover, complete with improved aerodynamics – most noticeably, a large duct on the bonnet – completes the transformation. The engine is carried over from the non-R Trophy, with 300hp on tap.

When can I have a new hardcore Megane?

Fastest front-wheel-drive production car

The car will debut at the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix on 24 May and Renault says it will go on sale towards the end of 2019.

As for how many customers will be able to get their hands on one: Renault describes the car as ‘an exclusive limited edition of a few hundred units only’. Get in quick, if you want one.

Renault offers give extra savings for 2019 Monaco Grand Prix

Renault Monaco GP discounts

Order a new Renault this week and you could save up to £1,000 EXTRA off selected models. The special offers are part of a Formula One celebration event in the build up to the Monaco Grand Prix.

The discounts are available on top of existing offers and apply to both cash and finance customers. You have until 27 May, the day of the Monaco GP, to order your new Renault, and cars must be registered by 30 June 2019.

The maximum discount is available on Renault’s large SUVs, with £1,000 off the price of a Kadjar or Koleos. Meanwhile, a £500 discount is available on Clio, Zoe, Captur, Megane, Scenic and Grand Scenic models.

Highlights of the latest offers include:

Renault Koleos Iconic dCi 175 Auto X-Tronic

Renault Koles special offers

Specification: rear parking camera, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot warning, climate control, automatic tailgate, 8.7-inch colour touchscreen, Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

Deal: £1,000 off and available from £189 a month.

Renault Kadjar Play TCe 140

Specification: automatic headlights and wipers, rear parking sensors, cruise control, climate control, 17-inch alloys and LED daytime running lights.

Deal: £1,000 off and available from £199 a month with a £3,000 deposit contribution.

Renault Clio Play

Specification: 16-inch alloys, DAB radio, Bluetooth, air conditioning, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors and hands-free keycard.

Deal: £500 off.

The extra discount is available on all new cars ordered between 17 and 27 May 2019 and registered by 30 June 2019. It excludes the Trafic van and Twizy quadricycle, and applies to retail customers only.

Spark of interest: used electric car price soars by 50%

Renault Zoe used car

A one-year-old Renault Zoe is worth almost 50 percent more than it was at the start of 2018, according to figures released by Cap HPI.

An eight percent rise in the month means that the popular EV is a rare example of a car appreciating in value, with Zoe values up by around £5,000. A short supply of used Zoes and an ever-increasing interest in electric cars are the primary contributors to the surprising stat.

Overall, the values of one-year-old electric cars were up 0.1 percent in March, in a market that was down 0.8 percent in the month. Only convertibles and coupe-cabriolets saw an increase, reflecting the seasonal nature of these vehicles.

The used market continued to soften in March with a fall of 0.9 percent at the three-year, 60,000-mile mark. The move follows drops in January and February and an overall decline of 2.1 percent over the first quarter of 2019, and a 3.3 percent negative swing compared to value movements in the same period a year ago.

Renault Zoe

Commenting on the data, Derren Martin, head of UK valuations at Cap HPI, said: “Despite current economic uncertainty over Brexit, price drops in the used car market cannot be apportioned to this.

“The market has seen prices going up over the last year to 18-months, and there is still a theme of a reluctance to pay high prices and squeeze retail margins. We continue to witness a gentle, downward pricing realignment.”

New or used?

New, Renault Zoe prices start from £18,420 after the government Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG), with mandatory battery hire kicking off from £69 per month. The purchase price includes a free domestic wall box fitted at your home address.

Taking a look on Auto Trader, we found a 2018 Renault Zoe Dynamique Nav with just 2,219 miles on the clock for £9,980, although £15,000 appears to be a more realistic price for a year-old Zoe.

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Renault wants to “re-invent life on board” with the EZ-Ultimo robot car


Renault has unveiled its latest vision for future mobility: the EZ-Ultimo concept. The star of Renault’s stand at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, it’s described by the company as a “premium and shared robo-vehicle”. In reality, that makes it something like an autonomous first-class train carriage for the road.

What is the Renault EZ-Ultimo?

Renault says it wants to “re-invent life on board”, turning the car into a place for work, rest, play or relaxation. Anything we might do at home or the office should be possible on the move. We’re already getting others to do the driving for us, reckons the company, with the rise of lift-hailing apps and services.


“As consumer trends change and people are enjoying ride-hailing services more and more, a new paradigm for mobility will emerge,” said Laurens van den Acker, SVP of corporate design at Renault.

The EZ Ultimo is the next logical step. It sounds very similar to Volvo’s vision of an autonomous pod, the 360c concept, which was pitched as a threat to the short-haul airline industry.

Funky French styling

Similar in ethos to the 360c, the EZ-Ultimo is also similar in silhouette. It’s very much a carriage rather than a traditional car, but futuristic wheels, angular flourishes and artistic lighting liven up the design. While the Volvo’s clean-cut Scandinavian lines are appealing, the Renault enjoys flashes of French flair.

“Inspired by contemporary architecture, and completely integrated in future smart cities, EZ-Ultimo will provide an exclusive experience for all. With autonomous, electric and connected cars, we are entering a new exciting era in automotive design,” says Renault.

A luxurious office on wheels

When the doors slide to one side, you get your first view of the cabin. It shares more with the living space of a modern apartment than a car. It’s high-class, too, utilising wood, leather and even marble for a “relaxing and enjoyable drive”.

By comparison with the Volvo, it does seem less versatile. There’s no bed for cross-continental overnight hauls, for example. Instead, you have office-style seating and workspaces. That, together with its new Augmented Editorial Experience (AEX), is how Renault aims to “re-invent travel time”.

AEX is what Renault calls a “realist immersive experience which combines personal premium content, multi-media experiences and mobility”. We take that to mean big screens for working and watching on the go.


Overall, the EZ-Ultimo is a curious take on a future we’re still uneasy about. Nevertheless, such new types of car are giving designers freedoms many before couldn’t have dreamed about, and yielding interesting results.

Read more:

Volkswagen Beetle Vase [Cabrio dash]

The best car features owners didn’t know they had

Volkswagen Beetle Vase [Cabrio dash]

A survey of 2,000 UK motorists by Citnow has uncovered the 10 best-loved features owners found in their cars.

These range from interior ‘easter eggs’ that surprise and delight, to genuinely useful features that we’re surprised aren’t seen more widely.

Let’s look at the list…

Volkswagen Golf GTI: golf ball gearknob

Volkswagen Golf GTI Golf Ball Gear Shift

‘GTI’ is one of the most prestigious names in hot hatchery and by extension, one of the most revered badges on the road. Today, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is the perfect double act of genuine class-beating competency and fun throwbacks to GTIs of old. One example of the latter is the golf ball on the gearknob, which heads the list of best-loved features .

Volkswagen Beetle: flower vase

Volkswagen Beetle Vase [from above]

If you thought the golf ball shifter was a fun trinket, the Volkswagen Beetle and its dashboard vase will appeal. The ‘New Beetle’, when it arrived in 1997, aimed to distil the cultural phenomenon of the original in a contemporary package. Yes, even down to some flower power… Motoring meets botany, resulting in perhaps the weirdest feature of any car from the last 20 years. It makes number two on the list.

Vauxhall Corsa: Flexfix integrated bike rack

Vauxhall FlexFix Bike Rack

The Beetle’s vase can be best described as a gimmick that’s most useful when you’re without a place to store your pens. The Flexfix slide-out bike rack on the Corsa (available as far back as 2000) is of rather more use to more people. Clever packaging makes it third on the best-loved list.

Skoda: integrated umbrella

Skoda Superb Umbrella

This one, especially for Brits, is a no-brainer, and somthing you’ll find in both a Rolls-Royce and a Skoda Superb. The door-stored umbrella has to be a godsend whenever you park up in wet weather. The challenge is remembering that it’s tucked away there.

Mini: ambient lighting

MINI Ambient Lighting

In the coolness stakes, this is close to the top. Ambient lighting has proliferated throughout the car market, but the playful implementation in the Mini is rated one of the best-loved features by buyers.

Honda: Magic Seats

Honda Magic Seats

Heading the list of practical but not necessarily cool quirks are Honda’s ‘Magic Seats’. These flip-up rear seats, which create a floor-to-ceiling storage space, debuted on the Jazz in the early 2000s and eventually made their way onto the Civic. Unlike a lot of what’s on this list, they are a genuinely useful feature if your Jazz or Civic is thus equipped!

Mini Convertible: Openometer

MINI Openometer

Aaaaaand… we’re back to the gimmicks. It doesn’t get much sillier than the Mini Convetible’s ‘Openometer’. This gauge records the amount of time you have spent travelling with the roof down. At least you can say with the utmost certainty how much sunshine you’ve got, before deciding whether to buy another drop-top.

Nissan: curry hook

Nissan Curry Hook

As unknown features go, this is about as middle-of-the-road as they get. How many cars do you know of with a hook specifically for takeaways? Er, none? Well, there is one. From 1996, the Nissan Almera came equipped with this feature, which you can now find in the boots of many new cars.

Renault Modus: Boot Chute

Renault Modus Boot Chute

This is a feature that was absolutely infamous at the time, mostly among journalists. The boot chute is one of those great ideas that simply didn’t catch on (the name surely didn’t help, although this was, remember, the company that also gave us the Renault Wind).

Too close to a car or a wall behind you? Need to load shopping? No problem! The lower part of the tailgate opened to create a ‘Boot Chute’. It provided excellent access for luggage in confined spaces. Bring it back, Renault!

DS 3: perfume dispenser

DS 3 Perfume Dispenser

The last item on the list is the DS 3’s perfume dispenser. Of course, it’s not actually exclusive to the DS. Many cars are now getting integrated fragrances, but it remains a laughable hidden feature.

Or is it? Plenty of us fit our own air fresheners, so why should a built-in one seem weird? Regardless, it rounds off the top 10 hidden features that buyers love.

Read more:

Thierry Henry Renault

Thierry Henry lends a hand to Renault’s partnership with Sky Sports

Thierry Henry Renault

Thierry Henry will star in new TV idents as part of Renault’s sponsorship of Premier League football on Sky Sports, as the former Arsenal man returns as brand ambassador.

The Frenchman – capped 123 times by his country – signed for Renault in 2002 to create the famous ‘Va Va Voom’ adverts, with the phrase added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary.

The new idents, which will carry the not-quite-as-catchy-hashtag #withyoualltheway will feature Premier League fans as they experience the ups and downs of a football season. Henry will showcase several Renault cars, including the Clio, Captur and Megane RS.

Thierry Henry said: “It feels great to reignite my long-stating ‘liaison’ with Renault, especially as I’m returning to the team during its first journey into football. Having played in stadiums across the world I know first-hand the passion fans have for both life and their favourite sport.

“I’m looking forward to helping Renault publicly celebrate this passion over the course of the Premier League season, while injecting some ‘Va Va Voom’ back into British football.”

Vincent Tourette, managing director, Renault UK, added: “We’re delighted to welcome Thierry back to Renault to lead the line in our new TV idents on Sky Sports.

“We’ve just enjoyed an amazing World Cup summer in which we were reminded of football’s power to bring out the best in us all, and we can’t wait to carry that on into the Premier League season with Thierry at the helm as we explore a sport that links very strongly with Renault’s ‘Passion for Life’ ethos.”

Give Henry a big hand

Thierry Henry Va Va Voom

Henry scored 228 goals in 376 games for Arsenal, where he is remembered as a club legend and a footballing hero. Needless to say, the ‘Gooners’ will enjoy watching their man in the Renault ads.

Republic of Ireland fans might be less welcoming, as Henry was as at the centre of a handball controversy in 2009, with the Frenchman handling the ball twice to send France to the 2010 World Cup at the expense of Ireland.

You have to hand it to Henry, though. He knows a lucrative deal when he sees one. Bobby, what’s French for ‘Va Va Voom’?

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