UPDATE: Live gallery from today’s launch added

TC Euro Cars today launched the Megane Renault Sport 250 Cup at the Sepang International Circuit. The latest Megane RS is a much anticipated entry by enthusiasts and at the time of launch, 11 people have already put their names down for it. This made in Spain 250 hp three-door “coupe” is attractively priced at RM229,800 OTR without insurance (RM188 cheaper than the old R26), making the VW Scirocco look expensive in comparison.

For that money, one gets a high spec performance machine that’s comes with a limited slip differential (LSD) by GKN Driveline, lovely Recaro seats (with Renault Sport logo and yellow seat belts), 4-piston Brembo brakes with 340 mm slotted discs (largest in class, 35 mm bigger than cross drilled R26 discs) and the R.S. Monitor showing real-time data (stopwatch with memory function, acceleration timer, g-force meter, turbo pressure, oil temp, torque/power figures) plus the option of five throttle map settings.

The wheels are 18-inch items with 235/40 Michelins. TC Euro chose not to opt for the dramatic 19-inch “spider style” wheels due to our road conditions and tyre replacement costs.

But the most vital inclusion is the Cup chassis, which is 10 mm lowered with uprated springs, dampers and anti roll bars. Suspension flex has been reduced by 35% and 38% respectively for the front and rear while the front anti roll bars have been stiffened by 13% over the standard chassis. The Performance Hub allows for an independent steering front axis, eliminating torque steer. Aluminium pivots and lower arms reduce unsprung weight while ball joints are used in place of bearings for less friction. Speaking of weight, the Megane RS’ kerb weight is 1,387 kg. The ESP system is a multi mode affair which can be fully switched off.

The 2.0-litre engine from the R26 has been updated with around 30% of new parts, including a twin-scroll turbo, reinforced piston/conrods, new coolers, sodium coated valves and piston ring carriers. The result is 250 hp and 340 Nm of torque at 3,000 rpm, 80% of which (272 Nm) is available at 1,900 rpm. This is 20 hp and 30 Nm more than in the R26, which is why performance is improved – the 250 Cup does 0-100 km/h in 6.1 seconds on to a top speed of 245 km/h compared to the R26’s 6.5 sec/235 km/h. To compare, the 207 hp Scirocco’s stats are 6.9 sec and 238 km/h.

Renault Sport is a “keep it true” brand dedicated to the enthusiast, which is why there’s no twin-clutch or auto option – you can only have it with a six-speed manual. This gearbox is a new one with revised ratios and a more precise feel over the R26. Combined cycle fuel consumption is 8.4 litres per 100 km or 11.9 km/l.

The 250 Cup is positioned as a track tool that’s perfectly comfortable on the road, so it gets plenty of luxuries. Keyless entry and start, Bluetooth handsfree, dual-zone air con, auto lights and wipers, iPod and USB ports, bi-xenons with daytime running lights plus six airbags. By the way, not only did the Megane RS score a five-star Euro NCAP rating, it did so with maximum 37/37 points.

We posted up a video last week showing racer Denis Lian doing a 2:43.02 time at Sepang. He was at the launch today and said that better conditions would have seen him do half a second better. The Singaporean praised the Megane for combining both driver feel and the ability to set fast lap times (they don’t always walk hand-in-hand!) , as well as its amazing punch out of corners, adding that the car’s German rivals feel “anodyne” while British rivals (Ford Focus RS?) have lots of feel but are “too wild”.

Lucky first eight buyers sampled their own cars on the track today

Available in three colours (yellow, white, grey), the Megane RS 250 Cup comes with a 3-year warranty. An optional GT Pack (moonroof and leather seats) is available for RM10,000. Gallery from the launch at SIC is after the jump.

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