Writing in the Sunday Times, he explained how the Trophy-R’s stunning handling and power enabled him to shake off the paparazzi which was chasing him through London following the announcement he had been suspended as a BBC Top Gear presenter.
He stopped short of calling it the ideal get-away car – indeed as he put it the Trophy-R, with red wheels, black roof and Renaultsport livery down its sides, “is about as-under-the-radar as a day-glo B-52 Bomber”.
Before adding later: “It’s not what you want for a low profile week when you are trying to stay out of the spotlight.
“And yet, as it turned out, it was exactly what I wanted because, ooh, some of those paparazzi are persistent.”
The Trophy-R’s staggering performance – as proved with its well-documented record-breaking endeavours around Germany’s 14-mile Nürburgring circuit, are not lost on Clarkson either.
He also wrote: “Set the on-board computer to normal mode and you get 247bhp, which in a three-door hatchback such as this is what engineers call ‘a lot’. However if you put the computer in Sport or Race mode you get 271bhp, which causes engineers to say ‘Don’t be silly’.
“In Mad mode this car will get you from 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds and then it will keep on accelerating until you are doing the speed of sound.
“An early hot Mégane – the R26.R – was so fast it set a new lap record for front-wheel-drive cars at the Nürburgring. And to give a sense of just how much more impressive the new model is, it smashed the lap record by a whopping 23 seconds.”
Clarkson has always enjoyed cars ‘with soul’ and the Mégane, it seems, ticks his box as does Renaultsport’s engineering of it. “… ooh, that Renault is fun,” he went on to say. “It’s firm, yes, but unlike all the other firm cars I’ve driven it’s not stupid. There’s a compliance to the shock absorbers that means you don’t have to grit your teeth and squint every time you go over a pothole.
“And it’s noisy, too, and not in a throaty grrrr sort of way either. It’s noisy because there is no soundproofing. Which means you get a real sense that you are inside a machine.
“And if you love cars, as I do, because they are machines, that is very satisfying.”