Renault Unveils the #NewMegane
As the flagship model of the local Mégane range, the New Renault Mégane comprises four petrol-powered models. Topping the range is the GT model. Powered by the marque’s new generation 4-cylinder 1.6 litre Energy TCe 205 151 kW engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch (EDC) auto gearbox plus Renault’s 4CONTROL chassis four wheel steering system.
Next up are the two New Mégane GT-LINE variants. Both powered by Renault’s 1.2 litre Energy TCe130 97 kW engine with two transmission options: The seven-speed dual-clutch auto as in the GT, or the six-speed manual gear box.
At the entry level is the Mégane Dynamique model powered by Renault’s 84kW 1.6 litre engine and mated to the five-speed manual gear box.
Looks wise, the new Renault New Mégane may be more evolutionary than revolutionary, however the design is quite stunning – especially when viewed from the front, where the trademark vertical diamond-shaped logo and wide grille, reflects Renault’s new design philosophy.
This fourth generation New Mégane is slightly longer and a little lower than the outgoing model. It has a wider wheelbase and the lower part of its body and bonnet feature taut, precise lines, converging towards the front of the car. In fact the design works well from any angle.
The new Megane features distinctive new front and rear lighting signatures, illuminated day and night, and front C-shaped lighting with 3-D Edge Light LED technology while the Mégane GT comes with full LED headlights. The permanently-lit rear LED lights also feature a unique 3D-effect signature with the slender brush stroke-like lines emitting a deep red light.
Moving inside the sculpted seats are tremendously supportive and have bags of adjustment, whilst the rear bench will seat two average sized adults comfortably, or three at a pinch. There are a number of smart and practical storage areas in the cabin for oddments such as under the central armrest and in the doors, and the boot will take 434 litres of luggage.
A high and wide centre console has attractively moulded strips with fine detail surrounding the rev counter, air vents plus full-grain leather steering for the GT and GT-LINE models. Other areas have satin-finish chromium.
The high tech cockpit is packed with technology and all buttons and levers fall within easy reach of the driver. The list of standard equipment is too long to list here, but niceties such as a digital speedometer, push-button starter system, electronic handbrake and the hands-free Renault key card, that switches to standby mode and readies itself for the road, makes the Megane’s interior stand out from those of other family cars.
In addition to a host of Renault MULTI-SENSE road handling features, full LED technology is also exclusive to the New Mégane GT providing the driver with light that is 20% more powerful than conventional halogen lamps. Other GT-only features and fitments, include leather seats, 18″ alloy wheels, including a 17″ spare, electronic parking brake and paddle shift.
Exterior LED daytime running lights and rear lamps as well as interior environment lights come on as do the repeats and door bottom lamps. The rear view mirrors unfold upon opening the door, while the electronic touch-screen displays a welcome message on the Renault R-LINK 2’s 7″ screen in the Dynamique model, or the 8.7″ in the GT and GT-LINE models.
This doesn’t just display satnav directions, it also opens up menus enabling you to select or de-select features like a colour head-up display in the windscreen, as well as the 4Control 4-wheel steering on the GT. It’s friendly and intuitive enough to use. The new Megane still mounts the audio controls on the steering column, which some drivers like and others don’t, but overall ergonomics are good.
The New Mégane GT model is the first vehicle in its segment to have 4CONTROL technology which affords the driver control, handling responsiveness and absolute precision. A Renault innovation, 4CONTROL chassis turns the rear wheels to a maximum 3.0° angle which affords the driver exceptional cornering ability. We were able to put the system to the test in the Sport GT model, on both the dry skidpan and the full circuit track.
On the skidpan, with an instructor on board giving the instructions, an extreme right turn, just ahead of the obstacle proved the amazing ability of the system to avoid an accident, while on the full circuit, with the 4CONTROL system and all the driver aids in operation, we were to attack the corners at fairly high speeds, and the grip was so good, that one would have to be really careless to lose control. And when we had to scruib off speed, the brakes were excellent.
Being a Renault, you’d expect the Megane to be one of the safest cars in its class; and, indeed, the car has earned the maximum five-star rating from Euro NCAP. All versions come with six airbags, tyre pressure monitoring, Park Distance Control, Hill Start Assist with the Blind Spot Warning and Easy Park Assist optional on GT and GT-Line models.
We drove two models for the ride and drive session of the launch starting off in the Renault GT Line with the 6-speed manual gearbox.On the open road, the Megane is grippy enough and body lean is well contained. The power steering is fairly responsive, but as with most electronic systems, feedback is minimal, but I found it to be quite accurate on twisty roads, while ride comfort and road-holding was good.
The GT-Line’s 1.2 litre Energy TCe130 97 kW engine provides reasonable momentum and mates well with the 6-speed manual gearbox. It runs quite relaxed with the motor turning at just 2 500 rpm at 120 in 6th gear, and, with the turbo boost, the small hatch is happy to power up steep inclines. Petrol consumption is given as 5.3 litres/100km in the combined cycle, and top speed is 197km/h.
Our second drive was in the top of the range Renault Mégane Sport GT 1.6 litre turbo-charged model. Delivering 151kW and 280Nm of torque from 2 400 rpm, it is really quick. Paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch EDC automatic gearbox it propels the GT to 100 km/h in a very respectable 7.1 seconds , has a top speed of over 200 km/h and petrol consumption given as 6.4 litres per 100 km in the combined cycle.
The EDC auto works very well with the turbo motor, and changing gears via the paddles behind the steering will satisfy the most sporty of drivers. Gear-changes are slick, and responds well when standing on the loud pedal. It will also accept multi-gear downshifts via the paddle shifters when entering a tight corner. Road-holding on the Sport GT is excellent with the 4CONTROL system steering notably lifting the car’s ability to manoeuvre at pace, while tightening the cornering line.
On the freeways even travelling at the legal limit, wind noise is minimal. There is a bit of tyre roar on the not-so- good “B“ roads, while the suspension, provides a comfortable ride.