The Golf GTI and Renaultsport Megane are two very different hot hatches. The French machine is all about uncompromised performance, whereas the German hatch is designed as an all-rounder.But does this mean the RS will always be faster on the track? Not necessarily- this GTI’s been fitted with the Performance PAck.It gets bigger brakes, a power upgrade to the 2.0-litre engine to 230bhp and a very clever electronic front differential.It starts from £27,480. The Renault Megane RS Cup costs £25,545 and has a traditional limited-slip diff. It also has a 2.0litre turbo engine with 265bhp – 35 more than the Golf. It also pumps out 360Nm of Torque. For several years Renaultsport has been the ‘master-craftsman’ of the hot hatch trade. I know it’s getting a bit long in the tooth but the Cup Megane is the best car they make. But what’s it like on track? Is it going to be quick enough to take on the new Golf GTI with the Performance Pack? Well, let’s find out.We’re driving the car with the stability control turned off, which is what gives this car a big advantage on the track – when it’s off, it is off. There’s an instant liveliness to the Megane chassis, at the rear end. Accelerating now, hard on the brakes into the chicane. Traction’s good on the exit, it feels taut, sharp, body control is really good. There’s a beep as I come up to the rev limiter to let me know when to change gear. It’s probably one of the best front-wheel drive cars for driving on track. Really rorty exhaust note. It does feel like a one-make racer when you drive it on track. Works its tyres hard.Brakes hard into the apex, up to second, up to third, back down to second again – the gear ratios aren’t great for this circuit. And across the line. The Renault completed the flying lap in one minute 14 point three seconds. Can the lower-powered and easier to live with Golf get anywhere near that mark? There’s no question that the Gofl GTI is the most desirable hot hatch you can buy, but there has always been two camps in the hot hatch market:those who want the all-rounder (which is the GTI) and those who want the hardcore, ultimate track car (which arguably is the Renaultsport Megane).The question is whether this GTI with the Power pack and a manual gearbox can outperform the Renault Megane. Let’s find out with a flying lap. The manual gearbox gives you a bit more engagement, and I prefer it on a track to the DSG, which you can get with
this car. The power pack adds a diff that sends power – proper limited-slip diff effectively and you can really feel that working. The car holds it’s nose really well – it’s really good for those changes of direction and traction’s really good. It’s got bigger brakes than the standard car as well, they’re certainly good.Really good there, traction was good on the exit as well. Hard on the power, engine sounds quite nice. It’s a shame you can’t turn off the stability control because it starts to come into play and that contributes to the brakes getting hot and just takes away that final edge of freedom you need to make this car fully engaging like the Renault. It’s really good the GTI. It’s certainly accomplished, and through this next high-speed section the rear end is absolutely planted. It’s really tight down, last couple of corners, second gear, through the apex. Traction’s good again.Question is, is it going to be faster than a Renaultsport Megane? Across the finish line. The Golf GTI performance pack completed the flying lap in one minute 15 point six seconds. In the end the Golf GTI Performance Pack was one point three seconds a lap slower than the Megane RS Cup, so even though VW has added extra performance to the car, if it’s quick laps you’re after the RS Megane is still number one. .