Ewan Kennedy road tests and reviews the 2017 Renault Megane GT hatch with specs, fuel consumption and verdict
Despite taking a road less well travelled lately by turning its hand to Captur and Koleos sports utility vehicles, plus a selection of light commercial vehicles, Renault has not deserted its traditional allegiance to hot hatches.
The fourth-generation Megane calls on the Common Module Family, Renault-Nissan Alliance's modular architecture. Thanks to CMF the new Megane shares some of the new technology of the larger and more luxurious of the company's European models. This includes four-wheel steering; 7.0-inch colour Thin Film Transistor (TFT) instrument display, tablet format 8.7-inch screen with R-Link2 and Multi-Sense.
With four variants available in Australia, the range kicks off with Renault Megane 1.2 Life manual at $22,490, plus on-road costs, the Zen 1.2 leads the automatic versions at $27,490, followed by the GT-Line, $32,490 and 1.6 Sport GT, $38,490. On test was the top-shelf variant.
The all-new Megane five-door hatch is a real looker, with a bolder, more chiselled exterior and 3-D Edge effect lighting at the front and rear. Together with mood-changing ambient lighting in the cabin, it's enough to leave even the star-studded light show at a Kylie concert in the shade.
Illuminated day and night, the front C-shaped lighting signature features LED 3D-effect light guides, while permanently-lit rear LED lights form a unique horizontal 3D-effect signature featuring Edge Light technology.
The signature exterior lighting is carried over to the interior by Multi-Sense technology, which controls a range of five distinct lighting ambiences coupled to five different driving modes.
The Renault GT is a Megane for all seasons.
Attention has been paid to the interior finish, from quality soft-touch materials to plush covering for the dash, upper door panels, door inserts and armrests, plus elegant chrome detailing and leather-trimmed steering wheel.
Sculpted seats provide comfort and support with dual-density foam. The top stitching on the seats and door panels is visibly restrained.
The test vehicle was fitted with R-Link 2, with the Premium Pack 8.7-inch tablet-style touch screen with a 'pinch and zoom' screen for easy use, even with unsteady hands.
R-Link 2 offers an interface similar to that of a tablet or smartphone, with click-and-drag to move icons, page scrolling and two-finger zoom. Easy customisation comes with three configurable 'home' pages with widgets (icons) and up to six different profiles that allow swift access to pre-selected driving settings and cabin ambience. R-Link 2 includes voice recognition for telephone and radio.
Engines and transmissions
The 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine developed for the new Megane GT by Renault Sport is a second generation development of that installed in the Clio RS 200.
It delivers 151kW at 6000rpm and 280Nm of torque at 2400 it has a Euro 6 emission rating.
With six airbags as standard, the Renault Megane Sport GT features traction control, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot warning, reversing camera. Easy Park Assist caters for three different types of parking - parallel, perpendicular and angled.
The Renault GT is a Megane for all seasons, with the choice of four driving settings - Sport, Neutral, Comfort and Perso (not a washing powder, it's short for Personal...)
This range topper does offer up a few tasty treats from the Renault Sport race engineers. Launch Control, for example, allows for harder acceleration from a standing start. Multi-Change Down significantly speeds up downshifting more than one gear at a time.
Launch Control has the new Megane GT sprinting from zero to 100 km/h in 7.1 seconds and is simple to operate. Mind you, 7.1 seconds is nothing special in the hot-hatch class these days.
With the driver's left foot on the brake pedal, Launch Control is activated by simultaneously pulling and holding the two steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles. A 'Launch Control On' message appears on the dashboard. With the right foot flat to the floor on the accelerator pedal, the car pulls away as soon as the brake pedal is released.
With the system continually on guard against the possibility of mechanical damage, Launch Control has the ability to temporarily suspend activation at any time.
Pushing the GT into quick corners holds few fears for the driver. Control is instant and assured.
The fun doesn't end there. In manual mode the seven-speed EDC transmission Multi-Change Down enables the driver to downshift several gears in quick succession.
The new Megane GT also features 4Control four-wheel steering technology. While not new - four-wheel steering was pioneered by Honda and Mazda at the end of the last century - this latest Renault innovation, once again from the Renault Sport stable, consists of a chassis providing steering of the rear wheels.
The result is a GT with dynamic and precise cornering. At speeds up to 60km/h (80km/h in Sport mode) the rear wheels are steered in the opposite direction to the front wheels for greater manoeuvrability.
Above those speeds the wheels are steered in the same direction to enhance cornering grip and control. Pushing the GT into quick corners holds few fears for the driver. Control is instant and assured.
The test car came up with fuel consumption of 10-plus litres per 100 kilometres in the urban environment and 5.4 litres per 100 kilometres on a motorway run.
Compared to its predecessor, the new Megane incorporates better insulation all round - from wind noise, particularly at speed, with thicker windows and exterior seals at the bottom of the doors. An acoustic glass windscreen is standard across the range.
Also in the mix is added or extended foam and felt underneath the bonnet, around the opening panels and wheel arches, in the foot wells and in the pillars and behind the boot's lateral trim. A stiffer body structure ensures better insulation against vibrations at engine idle.