The British magazine Autocar makes a comparison between the Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG and the Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy-R.
The R version of the Megane RS 275 Trophy costs £7500 more than the “normal” version without the R suffix, but succeeded to finish in a triumphant 7 min 54.36 sec in a lap, at Nordschleife, which means 4 seconds less than the previous record, held by Seat Leon Cupra 280. With this fantastic result, Renault tries to justify the formidable price increase which, on the other hand, includes the adjustable Ohlins dampers.
The former R26.R only really had the Ford Focus RS to worry about, but now there are new competitors from the premium field, which focus on output, but not on lightness with most in excess of 300 bhp. The qualities of these premium hot hatches are power, usability, speed and luxuriousness.
One of these hot hatches is the Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG, the most expensive in this category, which, on the other hand, is placed only £1765 above the Renault. With four wheel drive and dual clutch, the A 45 AMG is a small rocket. Can the 271 bhp Trophy-R manage to defeat the 355 bhp A 45 AMG?
With a driver and some luggage, the A 45 AMG weighs almost 1800 kg, but the huge torque of 332 lb ft beyond 3000 rpm easily compensates the overweight.
The A 45 AMG does not feature an adaptive suspension and this is the cause for it never settles down quite as effectively as a VW Golf R, but the seats are excellent, the steering wheel and the dashboard are rock-like wedges of expensiveness and, back on asphalt, it steamrollers north with all the quietness and certitude of a barnacle suckered to a torpedo.
The Megane RS Trophy-R is 258 lighter and because of this, in real driving, the R hardly seems any slower than the A45.
That’s partly because of the incredible, airboat-style on-throttle whoosh from the exhaust and the scratchy, short-throw shift action, which make it considerably more visceral, and partly because the Mercedes comes nowhere near to producing its claimed 0-62mph time unless you engage Race Start – the procedural equivalent of setting a video player to record Top of the Pops in 1991. But mostly it’s down to the power-to-weight ratio, which puts the R only a modest 20bhp behind its rival.
A 45 AMG is more pleasant to drive in a long distance drive, because the Renault comes standard without air condition and multimedia system. But it is more convenient to lose 10 kg of the kerbweight and to order both, even if the Renault asks a £1000 penalty for this.
On the track, the Renault was lucky with a nice weather and, after several laps, managed a 1 min 14.9 sec. Surprinsingly, the best lap of Mercedes was 1 min 16 sec, which is almost 1 sec more.
On the track, the Megane RS Trophy-R gives its best for a front drive hothatch and the lack of comfort equipments makes sense, but everywhere else creates limitations.
The A 45 AMG is a more road-use oriented, but becomes less convincing when it comes to the limit. On the other side, A 45 AMG convinces with a nice and sound-proof interior and with the hand finished engine. It is a bit slower on the track, but for sure, it is quicker on windy normal roads.