The all-new Renault Megane launched in Ireland in summer of 2016 and has been well-received, being a notable improvement on its predecessor. But for power hungry petrolheads, for who a 1.5-litre diesel will just not suffice, there’s the Megane GT and it’s the first of the new generation of the Megane to get the Renault Sport treatment. The Megane RS is yet to arrive, but the GT is a mild hot hatch, wrapped up in a chic French suit.
Priced from €30,690, the Renault Megane GT is a nice half way house with 205hp, sporty styling, lots of equipment, and some exclusive engineering for a more performance-oriented drive.
But at its heart the Megane GT is a five door hatchback so it brings all the comfort and practicality of the standard car. The boot is good for the segment at 384 litres and the car will seat five, though rear legroom is a little behind the class best.
The interior of the Renault Megane GT benefits from some exclusive badging, ambient lighting and blue trim, while Renault’s R-Link 2 8.7” portrait style touchscreen with navigation comes as standard. The infotainment looks impressive but is a little frustrating to switch between different functions.
Elsewhere equipment includes 18”diamond cut alloy wheels, GT steering wheel with paddle shift, aluminium sport pedals, full LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors with rear-view camera, and launch control for quick starts!
The Renault Megane GT is front wheel drive and comes with a seven speed dual clutch automatic gearbox. Under the bonnet there’s a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 205hp and 280Nm of torque. 0-100kmh is 7.1 seconds, and it goes on to a top speed of 230kmh. The power delivery is spirited without being crazy, but enough to add excitement to your average commute.
There are a few different driving modes, and in sport mode you get a sharper throttle response and heavier steering, while it also changes how the automatic gearbox behaves. The automatic gearbox is not 100% satisfactory because it is slow to react and holds onto the gears too much. Thankfully the gearbox behaves more naturally in normal mode, and you can still change up and down gear yourself using the paddles on the steering wheel.
The Renault Megane GT also has a stiffer suspension than your standard Megane so the car holds the road better when you’re pushing on through a series of corners and it’s still quite a comfortable car, though you notice the extra firmness over rough and uneven surfaces. Refinement is really good, and the cabin is well insulated from road and wind noise, making it a great companion for daily driving.
The novelty value with the Megane GT is that is has four wheel steering, which you won’t find in any rivals: it’s a class first. At low speeds the rear wheels can turn a little to make the car more manoeuvrable and give it a tighter turning circle. At higher speeds, it increases cornering grip and agility.
It feels a little weird at first and not fully intuitive because you don’t need as much steering lock as you think you do. But show the Megane GT a series of corners and you can see the system’s merits. You just need small, quick movements on the wheel to get around corners, and these quick responses are matched with grip almost like a four wheel drive car. You can feel the back wheels hugging the road surface and that allows you to get back on the throttle early and accelerate out of the bend. It’s really quite stunning.
No, the Megane GT is not the full hot hatch experience because it’s just not powerful or raw enough for that. But it’s not priced like one either and in terms of comfort and refinement, this car is as easy to live with on a daily basis as a diesel Megane; just less efficient. There are some frustrations to this car, but overall it’s entertaining enough to be tempting!
Model tested: Renault Megane GT Nav 205 EDC
Price: €30,690 (Range starts at €19,490)
Engine: 1.6-litre turbo petrol
0-100km/h: 7.1 seconds
Top speed: 230km/h
CO2 emissions: 134g/km
Motor tax: €280 per year
If you are looking for a sporty hatchback you might also like this review of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.