Wheels (Australia) - - Garage - ANDY EN­RIGHT

WHEN WAS THE last time you went out for a drive just for the fun of it? Un­for­tu­nately, a no-par­tic­u­lardes­ti­na­tion solo blast on great roads isn’t some­thing many of us block out time in the diary for. Life has a habit of get­ting in the way.

A Sun­day when my part­ner was over­seas and noth­ing par­tic­u­lar needed do­ing raised ex­actly that op­por­tu­nity for me, so I juiced the Megane RS up

the pre­vi­ous night and pointed it at the Reefton Ring.

You might know this drive loop, even if you’re not a Mel­bur­nian. It’s a 124km jaunt that runs through War­bur­ton, Healesvill­e, Marysville, Reefton and back to War­bur­ton ac­ces­si­ble from any point on the cir­cuit.

It in­cludes open, flow­ing roads, the tem­per­ate rain­for­est of the Black Spur, a bit of alti­tude up past Lake Moun­tain and the seem­ingly end­less twists of Reefton Spur. Go clock­wise to de­scend Reefton Spur or anti-clock for an as­cent of the bends. You’ll get it done in com­fort­ably less than two hours with­out un­duly en­dan­ger­ing your li­cence, and it’s a great test of a car’s ride and han­dling.

The former isn’t a forte of the Megane RS with the Cup chas­sis, but this Re­nault never saw a corner it didn’t like, and the Reefton Ring is chock full of ’em. Early on a Sun­day morn­ing at a de­cent clip is a great way to blow away a few cob­webs and re­ally put the Megane into its el­e­ment.

I took a break to pon­der the finer points of the han­dling en­ve­lope over a vanilla snot block the size of a steamer trunk from the Beech­worth Bak­ery in Healesvill­e. Once the tyres are warmed up, it un­der­steers far less and the Perso drive mode lets you tai­lor the dy­namic set­tings. I men­tioned at one point pre­vi­ously that the car’s ped­als weren’t very well set up for heel and toe­ing. That judg­ment may have been pre­ma­ture. In the more com­fort­able modes, the throt­tle travel is too long for an ef­fec­tive blip. Di­alling it into Sport or Race sharp­ens the throt­tle map­ping and then you can give the loud pedal a crisp jab with your right clog.

Not quite so much fun is the Megane’s strange predilec­tion for tyre de­fla­tion. On a few oc­ca­sions I’ve hopped into the ve­hi­cle, of­ten af­ter trav­el­ling away for a week, and been greeted by a low-tyre-pres­sure warn­ing. The strange thing is, it’s rarely been the same tyre twice, so re­turn­ing it to 33psi front, 30psi rear is be­com­ing a fairly reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence. I’d be keen to hear from any other own­ers who’ve ex­pe­ri­enced sim­i­lar ap­par­ently ran­dom de­fla­tions. Other than that, I’m al­ready look­ing for­ward to the next quiet Sun­day and another lap of the Ring.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.