2009 Renault Megane Trophy

If there's one French recipe we love, it's this: take a mundane Renault economy car, fit it with wild bodywork, and shoehorn a powerful motor in lieu of a rear seat. That procedure worked wonders for cars like the 5 Turbo and Clio Renault Sport, and it looks as if the new 2009 Renault Megane Trophy, unveiled at this week's Paris motor show, will be no exception.

We'll give Renault some credit - we were expecting to see the new Megane, completely restyled and re-worked for 2009, but we weren't expecting to see this. And how could we not? With a track as wide as the Champs-Elysees and an extremely chopped roofline, the Megane Trophy has the visual gravitas of a true sports car - or at least its 5 Turbo ancestor.

It does, thankfully, carry some performance credentials to match. Behind the cockpit lies a Nissan-sourced 3.5-liter V-6, tuned to the key of some 360 hp. Renault claims that 30-hp boost comes courtesy of forced-air induction, which is ducted through a scoop mounted just above the windshield.

Incredibly, Renault says the Megane Trophy can turn similar lap times to a Porsche 911 GT3, but we may never see for ourselves. The Megane Trophy will be relegated to Renault's one-make Eurocup Megane Trophy series - and while that may make for some interesting spec-racing, we'd love to see one of these mix it up with a GT3 out at Le Mans.

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