Nürburgring nuts, get ready for some serious controversy: French automaker Renault has a set a new lap record for production front-wheel-drive vehicles on Germany’s “Green Hell.” A factory-stock Mégane Renaultsport 265 Trophy recorded a scorching lap in 8:08.
The new record trumps the prior front-wheel-drive lap record of 8:17, set by a Mégane Renaultsport R26.R in June 2008. That’s an incredibly quick ‘Ring time, regardless of the drive wheels: The 265 Trophy is only 31 seconds off the pace set by Porsche’s 911 GT3 RS 4.0, and its time of 8:08 bests many of the top sports cars of the last decade, including the Honda NSX-R and BMW M6.
For those not familiar with French-car minutiae, the Mégane 265 Trophy is an extremely high-performance version of Europe’s Mégane hatchback. The Trophy model packs a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine producing 265 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual gearbox transmits power through a limited-slip differential to the front wheels. Renault claims the 2904-pound car runs 0-to-62 mph in 6.0 seconds and manages a top speed of 158 mph.
Standard racy garb includes Recaro bucket seats, Brembo brakes, and firmer “Cup” suspension that is 0.4-inch lower than on other Mégane Renaultsport models. Renault attributes much of the performance to the sticky Bridgestone RE050A tires mounted on the 265 Trophy’s 19-inch wheels. According to Bridgestone’s hype, the tires’ tread pattern was inspired by that of the wet-weather tires used on Formula 1 cars.