IN a market bulging with hot hatches Renault's latest Megane R.S. manages to stand out from the crowd.
From the noise of a beating heart upon entering the car to the growl of the magnificent 1.8-litre engine when the ignition button is pushed, the sound track provided is never less than awesome.
The 278bhp turbocharged beast rockets the R.S. from 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 158mph, aided and abetted by a super slick six-speed short-throw gearbox - an EDC dual-clutch automatic transmission is also available.
Thankfully considering the cheetah-like pace of this flying machine the braking system is specially configured while high-tech electronics help keep you out of trouble.
Renault also ensure there are decent reins to control this surging Â£27,495 beast as there is a ton of grip while the steering is sharp thanks to its 4Control four-wheel system that boosts the car's agility.
There are five diferent driving modes available at the push of a button including ‘Race' which is handy as you never lack for the wannabee ‘Fast and Furious' fan determined to get involved in a drag race when the lights go green.
If you opt for the £1,500 Cup Chassis pack included here then you get a limited slip-differential, stiffer springs and dampers plus the red brake calipers that seem the fashion flourish of choice on hot hatches.
The car appears glued to the floor as there is a flat bottom effect that invokes thoughts of Formula One motor racing.
And it is not the only allusion to the sport that has made Stevenage famous thanks to Lewis Hamilton, as Renault's motorsport links are also evident in the design.
The exterior features an F1-style gun metal grey front blade on a bumper boasting a honeycomb front grille with Renault Sport badging.
The 18-inch alloy wheels are gorgeous. The front wheelarches are extended with air grilles and natty R.S. bling while the rear of the car is also given a bit of pizzazz with an eye-catching central exhaust and spoiler while splashes of chrome on the windows and door handles ensure the side isn't let down.
Climb into the cabin and the comfortable red-stitched sports seats are body-hugging - ensuring that when you press the aluminium pedal to the metal you remain clamped in place.
The stylish leather steering wheel and gear lever are pleasing to look at and touch while centre-stage is taken by a seven-inch touchscreen giving access to a multimedia system that can easily be hooked up to your smartphone.
For a hot hatch there is plenty of space for four adults with a surprising amount of leg and head room considering the R.S. Megane's low-slung profile. The five-door bodyshell also makes it easy to enter and exit.
There is space for a third adult in the back although it's a tight squeeze - far better to let them take a bus and instead make use of the drop down centre arm-rest with its handy cup holders.
The boot is functional but a bit tight for a family's needs - although this won't be a car bought for it's load-lugging capabilities.