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‘What are they smoking in France?’: Renault’s latest souped-up Megane given a staggering £72,000 price tag

The Megane is a budget-friendly family hatchback designed to rivals cars like the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra. Well, not all of them, it seems.

That’s because there’s a new souped up version called the R.S. Trophy-R that boasts 296bhp, has been draped in carbon fibre and comes with fancy new suspension.

As a result it has set a new Nurburgring lap record for a front-wheel-drive car, making it the hot hatch dream model for any budding boy racer types.

But not many will be able to afford one… Renault has slapped a staggering price tag exceeding £72,000 on the top of the range version.

Just 500 examples of the Megane R.S. Trophy-R will be made, and just 32 of those have been promised to customers in Britain.

And those who want the range-topping Nurburgring Record Pack will need to stump up £72,140.

That’s a whole lot of money for what is a stripped out – though super quick – hatchback, as the social media reaction to its unveiling has pointed out.

Responses to various tweets about the car’s price tag included one individual remarking ‘someone’s smoking something’ while another suggested the price should include one of Renault’s F1 cars and its driver.

To put the price into perspective, we’ve selected a few new performance cars you could get your hands on for the same amount of cash.

A similar outlay could buy a high-spec Jaguar F-Type V6 or even a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 – both of which would likely run rings around the Megane on the road and track.

But the R.S. Trophy-R is no run-of-the-mill family wagon.

It uses a turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 296bhp and 400Nm of peak torque.

That’s not what makes it the pinnacle of hot hatches on the market today, though.

Renault Sport’s team has ditched 130kg of weight from the standard model, relieving it of the rear seats, thinner glass in the windows and a lighter rear axle.

Even a less bulky battery and smaller infotainment touchscreen systems helps to shave a kilogram or two.

The bodywork has also been overhauled with carbon dripping from every panel – including the bonnet and a new rear diffuser.

As a result, the car can accelerate from zero to 62mph in 5.4 seconds and to a top speed of 163mph.

It’s also dripping with the best performance parts money can buy – which you’d expect if you were handing over more than £70,000 for a Renault – including an Akrapovic exhaust, Ohlins suspension and high-performance Brembo brakes.

The range-topping Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R Nurburgring Record Pack version – the one that costs £72,140 – adds carbon ceramic front brake discs and gold callipers and is a like-for-like specification to the one used to set the new Nurburgring record.

It lapped the fearsome circuit in 7 minutes 40.1 seconds – three seconds quicker than the previous front-wheel-drive marker set by the Honda Civic Type R.

First deliveries are expected in October. The big question is, would you pay such an astonishing amount of money for a Renault Megane, even if it is this quick?