Renault R26 is not for the faint-hearted driver

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

If I could make one recommendation to the makers of the Renault Megane Team R26 it is that the vehicle should come with a warning: "Not for the faint-hearted or those of a nervous disposition!"

The F1 is a gift from heaven for those who enjoy driving a high performance sports car.

Renault have dropped in a 2,0 litre 16V turbo that turns out an impressive 169kW and 300Nm.

The normal 1,6 Megane 16V produces a reasonable 83kW.

After being handed the keys to this little beauty I snuck off to the R28 Krugersdorp highway to see if the F1 is all it's cracked up to be.

The answer is a resounding YES!

Foot to the floor through the first few gears of 6-speed gearbox is a joy to experience. The car just keeps going and as you red-line it at 6500rpm it lets out a whine that's music to the ears.

From the outside the F1 Team R26 oozes attitude.

Our test car was in "stand out from the crowd" Sirius Yellow, but Toro Red and Deep Black are also available.

The 18-inch rims fitted with Michelin Sport tyres, rear spoiler, F1 decals and detailing and a double chrome exhaust all help to spell: "Don't Mess With Me!"

Inside you are safely ensconced in Recaro seats from which you have easy access to a number of features.

Coming standard is aircon, climate control, leather steering wheel and gear stick, CD player and a sound system that comprises six speakers.

On the safety front you have ABS brakes and EBD (electronic brake distribution), side impact protection bars as well as a number of airbags.

The R26 is not cheap at R271000, but for that price you are definitely not getting a run-of-the-mill vehicle that simply gets you from point A to B. It will appeal to those who enjoy performance motoring and wish to stand out from some of the more staid German and Japanese brands.

A colleague asked me about the fuel consumption. I don't even know, I was having too much fun to notice! But manufacturer's claims 8,5-litres-100km.