What an absolute peach.
From time to time, I get swept away in a wave of enthusiastic fervor, especially when hot-hatching. Megane is deserving of every ounce enthusiasm.
Most small cars are not in the least bit engaging, but Megane GT
does it in spades.
The exterior is bold, very bold. It makes big statements with massive LED lighting arrays all round.
Front LED headlights an aggressive line of daytime running lights. The slender headlights are made to look more impressive by the DTRL which cuts a path deep into the bumper. The effect is stunning, which is becoming harder to achieve as more and more brands use them.
The LED headlights look like diamonds in a glass bejeweled case. It looks expensive.
The shapely rear end has a sharp set of tail lights. Ribbons of light trace a path, swooping down from the “Renault” badge in the centre of the hatch. They could have used the ubiquitous, uninspiring designs of the past, but I am glad they let themselves go
18” wheels, heavily sculptured panels, and a honey comb grille and splitter, make the GT look fast, even when it is standing still. The sports wagon version has an identical look. It is so similar that the casual observer may not be able to them apart.
The cabin is cosy and comfy with a heavy emphasis on quality. The black theme evokes a feeling of action and is has splashes of colour. LED mood lights give an ethereal glow.
The subtle lines created by concealed strips in the doors and centre console seem to float. The driver’s instrument LCD panel changes colour to match the doors and console..
The centre console houses the DCT (duel clutch transmission) selector, and some shallow cup-holders. The cup holders are well designed and hold an average size coffee cup.
An electrochromic parking brake is operated by a button is nearby.
Black Alcantara seats are highlighted by a royal blue Alcantara inserts.
Hot-Hatch red has been done to death, so a blue highlight makes a nice change.
There is some genuine simulated fake blue carbon fibre panels on the doors. It’s a shame the blues on the doors, console, and seats don’t match. None the less, it looks great
There is a “Renault Sport” badge on the dash, and a GT badge on the steering wheel, so you know you’ve bought the posh model.
Renault pushed the boat out on the infotainment system, but forgot to untie it from the dock.
The GT has a portrait aspect 8.7” tablet/touch screen. It is easy to use.
The righthand side has fixed touch controls. The screen can switch between various apps and can be used very much like like a smart phone.
Virtual buttons have no sense of feedback.
There are auxiliary audio/phone controls on a stalk concealed behind the steering wheel. It’s a dreadful idea, and is one the French seem to be persevering with.
The buttons should be on the front face of the steering wheel. You find yourself pressing the wrong controls otherwise
There is no Apple CarPlay/Android Auto as yet, although it is coming. An appalling oversight. This system would have been excellent if not for this fauxpas.
“Hey Siri” can be used to assuage and concerns about the absence of CarPlay. It’s a great way of getting fully handsfree messaging.
The system responds reasonably fast, but Satnav input can be a bit moody. The Satnav works well once you get it going.
The French are known for their own “unique” design flourishes, with varying degrees of success.
The Cruise control is split between the steering wheel, and the centre console. Setting the speed is by pressing the UP button. Other brands use the down button.
The Cruise/Speed Limit switch is between the front passengers on the centre console. Why? That’s just daft, and a huge amount of extra wiring.
There is adequate rear leg room, but would be tight if the driver was any taller than me, at around 180cms.
The 434L boot expands to 1247L when the rear seats are down. With the seats up, there more than enough room for me to crawl into the boot.
There is smart locking and pushbutton start, along with walk away locking. You need never get the key from your pocket.
Wow, what a treat
The drive is a revelation. The steering is sharp without being tetchy. And here is the cheeky hatch’s party trick: it steers all four wheels. Yes folks, it has 4-wheel-steer.
Although only the front wheels are driven, and so has a little torque-steer, all 4 wheels get you around corners.
4 Wheel Steering is brilliant.
At low speed, the front wheels turn in the opposite direction to the rear. At high speeds, the rear wheels turn slightly in the same direction as the front wheels. It sounds complex, and it is.
The engine is as sweet as a nut. It spins happily with no nasty vibration. The 7 DCT auto is one of those fancy-schmancy double clutch jobs. A microscopic graphic on the drivers centre dial tells you what gear you’re in, but it wouldn’t kill Renault to make it a bit bigger
The DCT/engine combo is super-silky. 151kw isn’t neck snapping by any means, but the performance feels brisk. It has Launch Control, but is it really with it. With 151kw, I wouldn’t have thought so
Megane GT isn’t about warp speed. It isn’t about being a brutish thug, so there is no chest thumping, or getting all shouty-pants.
The Megane GT is frisky. It scampers around corners, and frolics in traffic like a cat on carpet.
Selectable drive-modes include one that is programmable by the driver. You can have a smoother, more supple ride, easy steering, a nippy throttle, and a sexy rasp in the exhaust.
The ride is sensational, even in Renault Sport’s specially designed Sports mode. If you’re sick of your organs being dislodged by insignificant of imperfections in the tarmac, the GT is the car for you.
Of course, we took the scenic route on an outing through the Royal National Park. The GT is all about cornering, with the RNP providing a veritable roller-coster experience.
You don’t have to rocket through them at a gajillion KPH to be having fun.
In fact, the more leisurely you are, the more satisfaction there is. Cornering in an all-wheel-steering hatch is just astounding. The grip is completely different to a 2wheel steered setup. You can feel the back end being pushed through corners.
Not that I’d use it much, but the automated parking is fabulous. It can be slightly frustrating if it doesn’t work first go. It can make sharp turns into tight 90° spots as if it is being pivoted about its centre point. It will also do parallel and angled spaces.
We managed around 9L/100, which is not bad considering we got stuck in.
Grand tourers mean pace, grace, and space, and I’ve no doubt you could get outrefershed after a thousand k stint
I like the looks, and the ride, and the handling. The price isn’t too bad, at $39,100 either. Renault have a special promotion with free on-roads.
Our test car had the high end Bose sound system, and a lighting package which includes those sparkly LED headlights.
The GT has many moods. Bright and frisky, gentle and soothing, and, frantic and urgent, but all are dispatched with equal alacrity.
The sub 40k market is chockers with offerings. Some are fab, and others are like spending a long stint in purgatory.
This one however, is an absolute pearler.
Would I buy one? Yes.
Price: $39,100 (drive away offer)
Engine: 4 cyl, turbo petrol, direct injection, 151kw/280Nm
Econ/CO2: Euro6, 6L/100k, 134g/km
4 Wheel Steering