RENAULT HOT HATCH UP TO EXPECTATIONS

Renault_Megane_GT_frontDespite 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 French automobile manufacturer has stayed true to the Clio and Megane sporting heritage with the latest examples of both, the latter touching down in Australia late last year.

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.

STYLING
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.

Renault_Megane_GT_rear

INTERIOR
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.

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.

INFOTAINMENT
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 / 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 151 kW at 6000rpm and 280 Nm of torque at 2400 it has a Euro 6 emission rating.

SAFETY
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.

Renault_Megane_GT_interior

DRIVING
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.

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 60 km/h (80 km/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.

SUMMING UP
The new Megane enjoys an upmarket shift across the range, while those wanting something extra special from the French automobile manufacturer’s Formula One stable can cash in on authentic race technology.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE
Renault Megane 1.2 Life manual $22,490
Renault Megane 1.2 Zen automatic $27,490
Renault Megane 1.2 GT-Line automatic $32,490
Renault Megane 1.6 Sport GT automatic $38,490
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Renault dealer for drive-away prices.

FEATURES
18 inch Magny-Cours alloy wheels
4Control four-wheel steering technology
Renault Sport chassis and suspension
Renault Sport signature badge
RS Drive Mode
Steering column mounted paddle shifts
Aluminium accelerator and brake pedals
Front chrome door sill plates
Black and blue Alcantara upholstery
LED daytime running lights with 3D Edge effect
R-Link 2 with added navigation (TomTom)
Front parking sensors
Electronic parking brake
Rear view camera
Rear parking sensors
Tyre pressure monitoring system
R-Link 2 Arkamys audio system with 7 inch capacitive touchscreen , 8 speakers, AUX, 2 x USB
Optional Premium Pack: R-Link 2 multimedia system with portrait 8.7 inch touchscreen, Bose audio system, AUX, USB and Pure Vision LED headlights Optional Sunroof Pack including: electric sunroof, automatic dimming rear view mirror, sun visor with illuminated mirror

SPECIFICATIONS (Renault Megane Sport GT 1.6-litre turbo-petrol automatic hatchback)

ENGINE:
Capacity: 1.618 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 151 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 280 Nm @ 2400 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 95 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.0 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 134 g/km

DRIVELINE: 7-speed dual clutch EDC automatic

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4356 mm
Wheelbase: 2670 mm
Width: 1814 mm
Height: 1436 mm
Turning Circle: 10.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 1392 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Five years / unlimited kilometres

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