Road Test: Renault Megane Sport Tourer GT Nav
RenaultSport’s first rework of the new Megane is appealing, but stuck in a grey area, explains Alex Grant.
Sector: Lower Medium Price: £27,450 Fuel: 47.1mpg CO2: 134g/km
Just below the Megane GT’s grille badge are the letters R.S. – a nod to Renault Sport, and a hint of DNA links back through decades of Formula 1 technology and Nurburgring record-breaking hardcore hot hatches. Only, it’s not quite that simple.
This has certainly got the on-road presence of a fully-fledged RenaultSport product. Large wheels, an aggressive bodykit, incredibly comfortable alcantara-trimmed bucket seats and lashings of anodised blue inside all help mark it out. A makeover which doesn’t compromise on the standard car’s best bits – a great driving position, plentiful interior space and a much better-finished cabin than we’ve had from Renaults of old. The portrait R-Link infotainment system is standard, and there’s a lengthy load area in the Sport Tourer once the rear bench is folded flat.
The GT isn’t just a visual overhaul. It uses the same 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine as the Clio R.S., and the two cars also share the dual-clutch automatic gearbox, with metal paddles behind the steering wheel. Prod the R.S. Drive button to select Sport mode, and it’ll growl its way to 62mph in 7.4 seconds with plenty of mid-rev-range urgency, while the rear wheels can steer a little to help turn into tight corners sharply.
However, it’s not quite a hot hatch, either on paper or on the road. Rivals below the expanding hyper-hatch segment are typically putting out around 250bhp, and the Megane feels a bit soft by comparison, not helped by the gearbox. The upshot, for those who don’t want to set lap records, is that it also doesn’t ride as harshly as a RenaultSport product often does, it’ll return around 40mpg on the motorway, and it’s very quiet with the simulated exhaust noise turned off.
So it shapes up to be a bit of a halfway house; neither fast enough to lure people out of a petrol hot hatch, nor efficient enough to attract those who might otherwise choose a Golf GTD or Focus ST TDCi, which are both also available as estates. There’s a 165bhp twin-turbo diesel GT on the way, it’s significantly slower than the petrol version, not as powerful as its key rivals, and it’s expensive at almost £30,000. Undoubtedly not helped by the rear-wheel steering.
Nor is that helped by the GT Line, which looks almost identical but is significantly cheaper and available with the 96g/km dCi 110 and 104g/km dCi 130 diesel engines. The GT isn’t a bad product, but it’s a grey area between sporty-looking diesel Meganes and the forthcoming R.S., for those with a choice list flexible enough to tick the box. Going for one or the other might be the better bet.
What We Think:
The GT drives well, and looks and feels great. But, as a company car, it has neither the performance nor the fuel economy to compete with its closest rivals or make sense – for head or heart – against other versions of the Megane.
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