Two of the planet's hottest hatches met in an underground ring to exchange blows. We tell you who won.
Photos: Low Fai Ming & Joel Tam
They may consider each other as worthy opponents, but both want the title of being the 'hottest hatch'. We find out if one of them will fit every need of a hatchback-loving performance junkie.
(Don't forget the video at the end of the story. Want more photos? You know where to go.)
From the onset, the Megane Renault Sport (RS for short) has the fresher looks. Being the newer model, it has that advantage. That said, Scirocco R's front bumper adds visual aggression and sets it well apart from its lesser siblings.
Both cars have similar design cues. Muscular rear haunches, gloss black side mirrors and strong black accents are few of the common features they share.
We love the Megane RS' stout rear stance, and those tail lights are just way cool.
The Volkswagen has the bigger wheels, 19"s vs the Renault's black 18"s. But ride quality is good and road undulations are extremely well sorted in both cars.
The Roc' looks handsome in blue. RS is perfect in yellow. We wonder how both cars will look if the colours were reversed? The Roc would suffer the most, we think.
Some of our readers have mentioned from our solo review of the Megane RS, that the Renault's front end doesn't do much for them. We beg to differ. We think the design details are spot on - look at how the Renault logo is placed over the bonnet and bumper line. And those sleek integrated day-time LEDs! It's all in the details.
250bhp Megane RS is 6bhp shy of the Scirocco R's 256bhp, but meteoric acceleration is readily available on tap for both cars. Megane is rev happy and maxes out the rev range rapidly, while Scirocco has a broader power band, which makes it easier to drive. Both cars handle almost telepathically, but the Megane RS' steering has more weight at speed.
It is safe to say that the Renault is marginally the better drivers' car. Amazingly sorted suspension recovers almost instantly from bumps, and helical limited slip differential (LSD) works hard, allowing the rear to neatly tuck in when negotiating the tightest of corners at ridiculous speeds. But the Volkswagen is the easiest to live with day-to-day. No question. Effortless to drive fast with a freight-full of fun.
Build quality is where the German scores, with a robust finish all round. But the Frenchie doesn't trail far behind. In fact, the charismatic interior of the Megane with its yellow seat belts and lovely Recaros more than makes up for it.
Scirocco R in your side view mirror? Not for long. 330Nm of torque will ensure this hatch can easily keep up with most cars.
Nightfall, and still no clear winner. We keep driving...
Right up till the cars were running on their reserve fuel tanks, we still could not say that either car was better than the other. In truth, these cars are as different as they are similar. The Renault for one is only available in a manual transmission and provides a more raw experience, despite being tamer than it's predecessor, the R26. But the work is all worth it when you chuck the car from corner to corner and come out totally smug and satisfied. The Volkswagen on the other hand, is only available in its signature dual clutch DSG transmission - while it may not be as involving, it is a breeze to use, providing an overall drive that is still loads of fun with waves of power easily accessible. All we can say is, you won't go wrong with either car. If you really want to know which is better, go test drive them both and decide for yourself. Trust us, it won't be easy.