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Renault Megane GT: daily drive thrills

By Ghaith Madadha - Apr 08,2019 - Last updated at Apr 08,2019

Photo courtesy of Renault

The milder of two hot flavours of Renault’s C-segment family hatchback, the Megane GT is more affordable, economical and efficient than the Megane RS and more practical than the Clio RS.

Far more than just a “warm” second fiddle version, the Megane GT is a bona fide, albeit junior, hot hatch developed by the French manufacturer’s RenaultSport skunkworks division. If lacking the “RS” appendage to its name, the Megane GT might even be more fun on road rather than track, with thrills coming as reward for harder work and higher revs.

 

Rewarding road racer

 

Giving away 75BHP to the 276BHP Megane RS beast engineered to compete with high performance front-drive rivals like the Volkswagen Golf Clubsport and Honda Civic Type R and for track day shenanigans to fully exploit its huge performance envelope, the Megane GT is geared for daily drive thrills.

Modern but with old school hot hatch appeal, the Megane GT is thoroughly enjoyable on public roads and at legal speeds, and delivers accurate sensation of speed, driver involvement, nippy performance, zippy agility and more opportunities to explore the high end of the rev counter.

Similarly less visually aggressive than the RS and without its muscular bumper treatments or vents, the Megane GT cuts a stealthier, more discrete, yet distinctly sporty figure. Especially appealing in French blue, the Megane GT has a hunkered down, road-hugging sense of width, with rakish A-pillars, low descending roofline, abrupt tailgate, rear spoiler, slim near full-length rear lights and short rear over hang.

With big deep-set lamps framed by C-shaped LED running lights and ridged bonnet converging towards a large Renault diamond emblem, width is further emphasised by chiseled side sills and broad rear haunches.

 

Crisp and punchy

 

With an tense, pouncing demeanour, sporty deep front intakes, integrated dual rear exhaust tips and big 18-inch alloy wheels, the Megane GT is powered by a re-turned version of the smaller, lighter Clio RS’ prodigious turbocharged direct injection 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine. Developing 201BHP at 6,000rpm and
206lb/ft torque as early as 2,400rpm, the 1,392kg Megane GT is capable of brisk 7.1-second 0-100km/h acceleration, 27.8-second standing kilometre, and 230km/h top speed, yet returns frugal 6l/100km fuel efficiency and low 134g/km CO
2 emissions on the combined cycle, and is similarly economical in real world driving conditions.

Eager and willing in delivery, the Megane GT is responsive from standstill, with quick-spooling turbo and a generous and wide peak torque plateau underwriting punchy power accumulation and providing ample mid-range versatility for overtaking and inclines.

Digging deep and smooth and discreetly snarling as it climbs to its rev limit, the Megane GT is as happy cruising in mid-range as it is being wrung hard. Driving the front wheels through a standard 7-speed dual clutch automated gearbox, shifts are crisp, quick and slick, while individually tailored Dynamic drive modes sharpen throttle, steering and gearbox responses.

 

Agility and stability

 

Riding on MacPherson front and semi-rigid rear axle suspension with fixed rate dampers and unexaggerated 225/40R18 tyres, the Megane GT delivers an keen, classic hot hatch driving style through corners, yet finds a happy compromise between handling and ride qualities. Tidy, firm and with terrific body control through corners and on hard braking, the Megane GT also delivers a forgiving ride quality with just enough absorption, suppleness and comfort over imperfections. Stable and refined at speed without isolating the driver from the driving experience, it feels alert and connected, and remains settled on rebound. 

Eager, tidy and crisp turning into corners, the Megane GT’s wide track lends its grip and stability while its quick 2.4-turn steering is well-weighted, direct and with good intuitive feel for the road, while its rear end is committed to cornering lines, but seems willing to be a bit more adjustable if one were to try to nudge it out slightly to tighten a cornering line. However, it is the Megane GT’s 4Control four-wheel-steering that is its showpiece technology, which effectively shortens its physically lengthened wheelbase for enhanced agility, stability and directional response.

 

Comfort and support

 

Turning its rear wheels by 2.7 degrees opposite to the front at lower speeds, the GT corners like it is turning on the proverbial dime and is highly manoeuvrable when negotiating tight confines. At speed, the rear wheels turn up to 1 degree in the same direction as the front, and make the Megane more stable, settled and quicker through fast corners or when changing lanes. Sat low in its high-bolstered but comfortably supportive seats, one nevertheless has a great view of the road and a feeling of being at the centre of the action.

User-friendly and well-laid out with uncluttered surfaces and driver-focused controls and dials, the Megane GT’s cabin features a chunky sports steering wheel and suede-like sports seats for an alert and ergonomic driving position, and pleasant ambient lighting. Materials are of good quality but not ostentatious in keeping with its position as an affordable and accessible fun hot hatch. Space is generous in front, even with the optional sunroof, while rear seats of a decent size for its segment, if not especially designed with tall and large adults.

Well-equipped, it features a portrait infotainment screen, reversing camera, blind spot warning and more. However, a more driver-engaging three-pedal manual gearbox option is the one thing missing, for those who want it, from such an otherwise convincing, charming, authentic, practical and visceral a five-door hot hatch. 

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine: 1.6-litre, transverse, turbocharged 4-cylinders

Bore x stroke: 79.7 x 81.1mm

Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, variable valve timing, direct injection

Gearbox: 7-speed dual clutch automated, front-wheel-drive

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 202 (205) [151] @6,000rpm

Specific power: 124.8BHP/litre

Power-to-weight: 145.1BHP/tonne

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 206.5 (280) @2,400rpm

Specific torque: 173Nm/litre

Torque-to-weight: 201.1Nm/tonne

0-100 km/h: 7.1-seconds

Standing km: 27.8-seconds

Top speed: 230km/h

Fuel capacity: 50-litres

Fuel economy, urban/extra-urban/combined: 7.8-/4.9-/
6-litres/100km

CO2 emissions, combined: 134g/km

Length: 4,359mm

Width: 1,814mm

Height: 1,447mm

Wheelbase: 2,699mm

Track, F/R: 1,591/1,586mm

Overhang, F/R: 919/771mm

Ground clearance: 145mm

Headroom, F/R: 886/866mm

Shoulder width, F/R: 1,441/1,390mm

Luggage volume, min/max: 434-/1,247-litres

Unladen weight: 1,392kg

Steering: Power-assisted rack & pinion, four-wheel-steering

Turning radius: 10.4-metres

Lock-to-lock: 2.3-turns

Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts, 26mm anti-roll bar/semi-rigid axle, integrated anti-roll bar

Brakes, F/R: ventilated discs, 320 x 28mm/290 x 11mm discs

Tyres: 225/40R18 

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