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New car sales price Renault Megane GT and wagon

It also looks good, is well equipped and easy to handle in all conditions.

In addition, the mainstream family Megane will be headlined by a turbo-powered GT model that bridges gap to the hotrod RS turbo models that have become the French brand's signature in Australia.

The GT 220 lands in June and will be followed by ‘regular’ wagons less than a month later. Pricing is from $36,990 and the cooking cars will have stickers starting below $30,000 with a choice of a 2.0-litre petrol engine with CVT transmission or a 1.5-litre diesel with a dual-clutch manumatic.

After a very short preview drive of the GT 220 in France, and just a couple of twisting corners, it's obvious that the car will suit people who like to drive. It's nowhere near as extreme as the RS 265, which will be good news for youngsters in the back, but it is plenty quick enough for family hauling.

It also looks good, is well equipped and easy to handle in all conditions. The basics of the Megane wagon, before the GT 220 upgrade, also point to a reasonable future with families who have been starved of anything but SUVs in the compact class.

It's not the most modern car in the class, or the sharpest on price, but it is going a different way as Renault also readies its all-new Captur SUV for Australia next year.

The real shortcoming is that it only comes with a six-speed manual gearbox, not even a paddle-shift manumatic. So it's for old-school drivers, as I learn when switching out of a sharp-edged Clio RS.

"We believe the wagon is a different proposition for consumers. It's a good looking car and sits nicely in the range," says Renault spokesperson, Emilie Ambrosy.

"We also have an SUV with the Koleos but the wagon suits different people." The GT 220 is developed by RenaultSport, but is not as extreme as the full-on RS cars despite a turbocharged engine that makes 162 kiloWatts with 340 Newton-metres of torque.

The best way to highlight the difference is the 0-100km/h time, which rises from 6.0 seconds in the RS 265 hatch to 7.6 seconds in the GT wagon.

"It is the link between RenaultSport and the normal cars. But it is seen as a RenaultSport car and there are plaques in the cars with a build number," says Ambrosy.

But why is the GT 220 coming as a wagon and not a hatch?

"We're doing it because we see an opportunity for this vehicle. We've had a tremendous success with the RS 265 but there are people who want the practicality of five doors.

"And the RS is an extreme car. This is a chance to grow the portfolio."

The GT 220 is slugged as a limited-edition car - with 18-inch alloys - but it is also the first Renault for Australia with stop-start technology, helping trim fuel use to 7.3 litres/100km from 8.3 for the RS.

"We will get a couple of hundred cars. The base model will be $36,990 with no options, then there will be a premium pack for $5000, which puts the car at $41,990, with leather seats, satellite navigation with reversing camera, front parking sensors, panoramic sunroof and a system that Renault calls Visio with lane departure warning, bi-Xenon lamps and automatic dimming of the high beam," says Ambrosy.

This reporter is on Twitter: @paulwardgover


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