New Megane packed with top tech
Despite taking a road less travelled lately by turning its hand to the Captur and Koleos sports utility vehicles, and 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, a seven-inch colour thin film transistor instrument display, and tablet format 8.7-inch screen with R-Link2 and multi-sense.
With four variants available in Australia, the range begins with the 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 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 and mood-changing ambient lighting in the cabin.
Illuminated day and night, the front C-shaped lighting signature features LED 3D-effect light guides, while permanently lit rear LED lights form a 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.
Attention has been paid to the interior finish, from quality softtouch 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 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.
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 and 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, and reversing camera.
Easy park assist caters for three 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 (short for Personal).
This range-topper offers 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 downshifting more than one gear at a time.
Launch control has the new Megane GT sprinting from zero to 100km/h in 7.1 seconds and is simple to operate.
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.
With the right foot flat to the floor on the accelerator pedal, the car pulls away as soon as the brake pedal is released. 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, this 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 from 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/ 100km in the city and 5.4 litres/ 100km on a motorway run.
Compared with its predecessor, the new Megane incorporates better insulation all round.
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.
The new Megane enjoys an upmarket shift across the range, while those wanting something from the French manufacturer’s Formula One stable can cash in on authentic race technology.