Renault Megane R.S. (Mk3) | PH Used Buying Guide

The current Renault Sport Megane will almost certainly be the last – grab it while you still can

By Tony Middlehurst / Sunday, October 24, 2021 / Loading comments

Key considerations

  • Available for £19,000
  • 1.8-litre inline four, turbocharged, front-wheel drive
  • Cup chassis is hard, but not as hard as on earlier RS cars
  • Five-door body only adds practicality
  • Good reliability but some battery issues with Trophy models
  • 2020 facelifts have better cabins and infotainment

Search for a used Renault Megane R.S. here


Back in September 2020 we put together a PH Used Buying Guide on the gen-two Megane Renault Sport. Before we go any further let’s clear up the nomenclature. If you’re into this sort of thing you might be calling that the Mk 3 because the gen-two RS was based on the Mk 3 Megane. We’re going to be calling it the gen-two RS because, well, that’s what it is.

Anyway, in the summary of that guide we lauded the RS’s easy power, superb handling and the fact that it was a genuine five-seater. We said that it wasn’t as raw as the old gen-one R26R, but that it was a lot cheaper than an R26R.

Back then in 2020, high-mileage (125,000 plus) gen-twos were available for £6,000 and sub-100k milers started at £8,000. One year on, those numbers haven’t changed. £6k is still the entry price for high-mile gen-two RS beaters, and double-figure mileage cars still start at £8k. Gen-one RSs haven’t exactly dropped in value either. We’ve just seen a 30,000-mile 2009 F1 Team R26R for a tenner under £28k. Gumph!

What does it all mean? Well, we’d say it means that depreciation on both gen-one and two RS Meganes appears to have stopped, and that if you want to get into a good one you shouldn’t hang around. But what if you want to experience the Megane RS lifestyle without getting into the angst of chasing a bull market? You take the third option. A gen-three RS.

Launched at the 2017 Frankfurt show, the All-New Megane R.S. (we’re going to drop the full stops from now on) was powered by a 280hp version of the 1.8-litre turbo engine used in the Alpine A110. At the time this was claimed to be the most powerful 1.8 engine available in the UK.

Built in Spain, the new RS came with a six-speed manual transmission or with a six-speed twin-clutch EDC automatic, beefed up to take the new engine’s torque and featuring new ratios.

F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg was involved in the development of the car. On the chassis side, the main tools he had to work with were: a new Torsen mechanical LSD (on the Cup) with varying lockup values under acceleration and deceleration; Renault’s motorsport-derived PerfoHub independent steering-axis front suspension separating drivetrain and steering actions that had been present in RS cars since the gen-two of 2004; and what Renault claimed to be a world first in the sports car segment, a 4Control four-wheel steer system re-engineered by Renault Sport.

The UK order book for the RS 280 Sport and 280 Cup opened in May 2018 for deliveries in July that year. If you ordered a Sport any time in May for registration before the end of August you got a free £1,500 upgrade to the Cup chassis. In time-honoured RS fashion the Cup package included red brake calipers, the aforementioned Torsen mechanical limited slip differential, and extra firmness in the springs (30 percent), dampers (25 percent) and anti-roll bar (10 percent). There were also hydraulic bump stops, effectively secondary dampers within the main units designed to dissipate energy as the shocks got near to the end of their travel.

In late 2018 the first RS300s arrived in UK magazine test car parks. Available in 18-inch wheeled Sport or 19-inch Trophy guises, the 300 came with 296hp and 310lb ft courtesy of a new, more open exhaust and a ceramic bearing in the turbo. These hikes made it marginally quicker than the 280 through the 0-62 (5.7sec against 5.8) and lifted the maximum speed from 158mph to 162mph.

The only models you can officially currently buy new in the UK are the RS 300 and the RS300 Trophy, both of them EDC autos, and you’ll pay somewhat more than the £179 a month that believe it or not was enjoyed by some gen-three RS early adopters – but only if you can find one. This year the world shortage of chips has halted RS production and Renault has stopped taking orders. There have been fears that production wouldn’t be restarting any time soon but a high-up at Renault UK told our Matt that it will restart at some point and that orders will be taken in the coming months.

That’s all for new cars, obvs. On today’s used market, prices for privately owned early cars with highish (70k) mileages start at around £19,000, which looks like pretty strong value retention. Are they worth it though? Let’s dive in and ponder that.


Engine: 1,798cc inline four 16v turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual or automatic, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],000rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],200rpm
0-62mph (secs): 5.8
Top speed (mph): 158
Weight (kg): 1,437
MPG (official combined): 35.3
CO2 (g/km): 181
Wheels (in): 18 or 19
Tyres: 245/35 on 18s
On sale: 2018 – on
Price new: £27,800
Price now: from £19,000

Note for reference: car weight and power data is hard to pin down with absolute certainty. For consistency, we use the same source for all our guides. We hope the data we use is right more often than it’s wrong. Our advice is to treat it as relative rather than definitive.


The new RS’s 1.8 turbo wasn’t quite as sweet or revvy as the old atmospheric 2.0-litre, or as dramatic, but it was cleaner and more responsive and it was misleadingly quick. The cylinders had mirror-bore coating just like the Nissan GT-R, and there was a decent growl from the exhaust, especially in Sport mode, but for some Trophy owners unwanted squeaking from the exhaust valve was a thing. Heavy cracking and popping tended to die down with mileage as the exhaust built up a sooty lining.

There was an issue with the oil pressure solenoid in some cars built between March 2019 and May 2019, so check the paperwork of any car that you may be thinking of buying and that falls into that window to ensure that the replacement has been fitted.

On the transmission side, early tests brought forth views that the action of the six-speed manual could feel clunky and short on precision. Some owners did find that the change in general, and the one to third in particular, could be obstructive in the first few hundred miles, but anecdotal evidence suggests that things improved over time. The EDC auto worked well in the new RS with sweet shifts in both manual and auto, but the high mounting of the paddles on the steering column rather than the wheel put some people off. One PHer had to have a new EDC box put in when his one threw up a ‘check auto gearbox’ light (which turned out to be a serious problem) with fewer than 50 miles on the clock.

The RS had five modes: Comfort, Neutral, Sport, Race and Perso(nal) which allowed you to choose your own chassis and drivetrain settings. Unlike many other cars the RS defaulted to the mode that was in place on the last outing. Comfort felt a bit feeble but Neutral was a good mode for general running around, especially in town as it gave you the use of the start/stop tech. There were no glaringly obvious power delivery differences between Neutral and Sport or Race. In moderate to hard use you might see an overall fuel consumption figure in the low 30s. That would go down to the mid 20s if you were enjoying it in Sport mode.

Trophies used lightweight lithium DESS batteries which could go flat if the car wasn’t driven for a while. There have been stories of damage to the battery (which cost £600 to replace) and/or the loom as a result of incorrect restarting. The battery management software was updated by Renault (the so-called ‘Actis solution’) but it didn’t always work and you couldn’t just bin it and fit a standard battery. We gather that there were quite a few battery warranty replacements, but there was no recall. CTEK trickle chargers are highly rated by Trophy owners.

Renault UK’s presentation of service and warranty information is a lawyer’s dream. On first examination, the RS seemed to be covered by a warranty package of up to 5 years with unlimited mileage for the first 24 months that was then limited to a total of 100,000 miles or 5 years, whichever came first, but then if you drop down Renault UK’s web page a bit it appears to qualify that to models registered after 18 December 2019. For vehicles registered before that date but after 1 February 2018 it seems to be three years. For vehicles registered before 31 January 2018 it’s four years. Hmm.

On servicing, the frequency is 12 months or 18,000 miles, whichever comes first. Renault has an EasyLife Service Plan for vehicles under 12 months old. For ‘normal’ cars it’s £499 for 3 years/30,000 miles or £759 for 4 years/40,000 miles, but RS 300 prices are separate and somewhat higher at £799 for three years and £1,149 for four.

For RSs that are over 12 months old it becomes a Service Loyalty Pack which is available in Budget, Standard or Premium flavours. You can only get a Standard pack for an RS though, which is for 2 years and costs £560. For that you get two unspecified services. That compares to the Standard pack for most other Renaults which is for four years, which includes four services (two ‘A’ and two ‘B’) and which costs £520. Go figure. If you weren’t on the plan, you’d be expecting to pay around £300 for the first service.


On the press launch in Portugal journalists were only allowed to drive Sport cars on public roads and Cup cars on the track. The reason for that became clear when British journos got to drive Cup cars on UK roads, where they discovered a level of firmness that for some was a little too reminiscent of the previous RS Trophy’s jitteriness. There was no way to soften the Cup’s ride through the mode selector. The only way to do it really was to buy the Sport and not the Cup. Then you would have a car that without the LSD would have more understeer, but that would acquit itself perfectly well on a track without rattlling your pocket change on ordinary roads.

The Cup upside, or cupside if you will, was nailed-on handling on smooth roads, Ironbutt drivers would say that the Cup’s LSD was an absolute must-have for this reason alone, but even if you were a track day fiend, the small percentage of track driving time against the amount spent on regular roads made the Sport a better choice for those whose RSs had to cover all life’s eventualities. You missed out on the LSD, but you also missed out on the liquefied eyeball jelly. You could easily argue that the Sport’s softer setup allowed the basically excellent chassis more room to shine across a wider range of scenarios.

RS steering could seem on the light side. It weighted up in Sport but there was no accompanying improvement in feel. Still, with the four-wheel steering the car felt secure and agile. One owner noted that the standard diamond-cut wheels on his new 280 Cup weren’t as easy to kerb as the ones on his old Clio 220 Trophy. Interlagos Black wheels were a popular option at £950 a set. So were the FUJIs which became available on UK cars in 2020 and that were supposedly 2kg a corner lighter. Visually, 19-inch wheels are not essential on an RS as the 18-inch Estoril wheels looked pretty good, helped the ride quality a bit and, if you were planning on doing a lot of track work, made it cheaper to buy decent tyres like the Yokohama AD08R. They were a pig to clean though.

The RS was sensitive to tyre wear. If one of the fronts blew or was destroyed by a pothole it was a good idea to replace both fronts to avoid the unseemly darting about that would result from only changing one tyre. On average the front tyres of a reasonably driven RS will last for around 5,000 miles with the rears doing maybe 8,000, but hard driving will trash the fronts in less than 3,000. Owners who replaced the original Bridgestone Potenza S001s or Continentals with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S or Super Sport tyres weren’t sorry about the result, but the Potenza Sports (the S001’s successor) are well thought of.

What about the 4Control four-wheel steer system then? At 37mph or more in all modes but Race, where the triggering speeds were 62mph, the front and rear wheels turned in the same direction to increase stability. Below 37mph (or again 62mph in Race) the front and rear wheels turned in the opposite direction for better agility in tight corners. Until you got used to it, that lower-speed contra-steering in particular could feel quite weird. After a while though you learnt to appreciate the fast-pivoting action. Braking was nicely progressive, with 1.8kg lighter bi-material brake discs an option on the Cup cars and standard on Trophies.

Quite a few gen-three RS owners who were coming out of cheap lease deals on Cupra 300s pronounced themselves well satisfied with the trade, noting that the wheel hop that was an unwelcome feature of the Seat wasn’t present in the Renault. You could still provoke scrabbling under heavy acceleration though. Juddering and tyre skip while turning at low speed wasn’t the diff failing, as some worried owners thought, but a normal effect of steering geometry that had been set up for good high speed handling. Whichever spec RS you end up buying, don’t expect it to be quiet on concrete road surfaces.


Anyone coming to a Megane RS from a hot Golf would quickly notice the difference not just in the predictable area of ‘classiness’ but also in the layout of gear put in front of them. Renault’s R-Link 2 infotainment on pre-2020 facelift cars had Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It was presented in the centre of the dash on a portrait-format screen that looked good and, dodgy menus apart, performed pretty well (a lot better than the ones that had gone before, anyway) without feeling all that ‘premium’.

The vertical format was good for sat nav use as it gave you a bigger view of the road ahead rather than of the fields to the side. It was fairly easy to fire yourself off down a rabbit hole by accidentally touching one of the menu shortcut tabs though. If you didn’t pay the £300 extra for the 8.7in screen your pre-2020MY car would come with a 7in screen, which seemed a bit stingy in a range-topper (though having said that, the Trophy-R came with the 7in screen and sort of pulled it off).

Current RS models have a 10in TFT driver’s display and a 9.3in central screen running the new (and much improved) EasyLink connected services. That came in with the late 2020 facelift along with physical buttons for things like the fan speed on the climate control, a welcome change.

The RS Monitor data acquisition system that graphically displayed telemetric data from a battery of pressure, temperature, rev and steering angle sensors was a free download from the RLink store for Trophy models, otherwise it was a payable extra. After the initial ‘fun playing with it’ stage it could end up not getting much use.

New-to-the-Megane drivers might have asked why the pedals seemed a little high and a little too offset, why they couldn’t get much fore-and-aft adjustment in the steering wheel, why the manual gear knob looked a bit strange, or why the digital instrumentation couldn’t produce analogue speedo and rev counter displays at the same time. Long-term RS fans might also have wondered why Renault still hadn’t sorted the equally long-term oversensitivity of the keyless-entry fob/card thing which could lock the doors even when you were still within an arm’s length of the car, or which let you in and then set the alarm off. You didn’t want to leave it near your phone in the car either as it could lock the car if you popped out for a second.

Speed limit warnings annoyed plenty. Thankfully, it was possible to disable them but only if you were prepared to dig around on tinternet for the magical rites (clue for the speed alert delete – select the sat nav as your main screen, not the sat nav/radio split screen). Renault didn’t help by not putting the same menus or options on the different screens it fitted.

One point worth making was that the better refinement of the current Megane knocked on to the RS to some extent, making it a pleasant place to be when you just needed the car to transport your family without too much fuss. Material quality was definitely superior to the previous model’s, and the squeaks and rattles of old had all but disappeared. That might change over time in Cup and Trophy versions, mind. One PHer reported an electrical-sounding buzz from behind the central screen somewhere at 5,000-5,500rpm which was fixed by giving the overhead light/alarm/airbag console a hearty slap forwards.

Alcantara was a nice interior option at £1,200. There was a heated Recaro seat option too but the standard seats with the Alcantara are considered to be at least as good as the Recs, even on the track. A Bose stereo could also be specified. It was an improvement on the standard system but not as good as the B&O you might get in an Audi. You could also option a Visio pack with lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, and high-beam lighting power extended to 460 metres, 17 percent longer than the most powerful xenons. The box for the rear camera was often ticked.

Unlike the regular Meganes which had electronic parking brakes the RS stuck with a ‘proper’ physical handbrake. With between 472 and 1,367 litres the Megane’s boot was bigger than a Focus’s. You had to be careful lifting the tailgate if it was raining however because the design would let the water in. Cue grumpy dog. Some rear washers failed to deliver fluid.


The loss of the old 3-door RS’s coupe line was a shame but there was a clear practicality payoff in the new 5-door. Liquid Yellow has always been a popular colour on RSs of any model type, and so it was with the new Megane, but Volcanic Orange was very well liked too. There were delivery delays on both.

If you didn’t want to wait and weren’t bothered about bright colours you could get a smart Titanium Grey. Sadly, neither classic F1 blue nor Lunar Grey from the R26R days were offered, but Flame Red was, and that was tasty. So was Highland Grey. Black looked suitably moody too. Reports of ‘soft’ paint and scratching are not uncommon, with rear arches coming in for a good stone-chipping.

There have also been reports of higher than normal amounts of condensation in both 280s and 300s. It’s thought that this was down to some cars coming out of the factory with pinched weather seals on the back doors.


In group tests the gen-three RS Megane always found itself up against cars like the Honda Civic Type R, Focus RS and Golf GTI or R. The Renault generally lost out in these tests, whether it was on refinement, class, performance, all-round excitement or some indefinable mix of everything.

In isolation however the latest RS Megane is a five-door, five-seat, nearly-five-star package that delivers all the driving pleasure anyone might realistically desire while also handling more mundane everyday needs. It has been slated in some quarters for being ‘too mature’ but there’s actually oodles of character compared to some of the opposition and if you’re still thirsting for more excitement the Cup option should see you right.

You’ll find PHers who will tell you that even though they might only dip into the full pleasures of the Cup chassis 1 percent of the time, the payback they get is worth the comfort compromise the other 99 percent of the time. Another PHer who had previously owned a 65hp more powerful but 100kg heavier BMW M2 preferred the playfulness of his RS Trophy, especially on bumpy roads where the BMW felt overwhelmed, whereas the Renault in his view got better with speed. A common summation among those with M2 experience was that you could enjoy more of the Megane’s performance more of the time, especially in less pleasant weather conditions.

The thing to remember is that the results of group test comparisons don’t need to concern you if you are buying one car to do a job. All you need to know then is that you are happy with the car you’ve bought, not whether bods in Golfs or Civics are having a better time than you are. That’s a state of grace they might only experience by pushing their cars to the very limits, a risky thing on public roads. And the one thing that every RS has is personality by the bucketload. It’s much more than just an effective tool. See one in the flesh and you will instantly recognise that it has that ‘special’ quality about it.

Interested? Good. Here are a couple from PH Classifieds you might like. Supply is short so demand is high, and so are the prices. The cheapest example on PH at the time of writing was this 15,000-mile RS 280 Cup in Glacier White for £23,750. This RS300 Trophy is a deal more expensive at £29,950 but it does have Recaros, Bose, Visio and only 8,000 miles on the clock – and it’s in Volcanic Orange. Juicy. Top of the shop price-wise is this 2021 RS300 facelift with all the updated infotainment screenage etc and just 2,000 miles done. In Titanium Grey for the mature madman, it’s yours for £32,995.

Search for a used Renault Megane R.S. here

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