Renault targets premium rivals with 202bhp GT version of its all-new Mégane; UK order books now open

The all-new Renault Mégane is now on sale in the UK priced from £16,600, with first deliveries expected next month.

The hatchback is headed by a Renault Sport-tuned GT version, shown here in our exclusive studio pictures.

Read our review of the Renault Mégane 1.6 TCe GT here

The unusual decision to begin sales with a more focused model in the line-up was taken to drive early sales and tempt buyers from premium cars such as the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class, as well as established mainstream competition such as the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf.

Next-generation Renault Mégane Sport Tourer unveiled at the 2016 Geneva motor show

Engines and gearboxes

The Mégane GT will initially be sold with a 202bhp petrol engine, with a 163bhp diesel following later, both linked to dual-clutch automatic gearboxes with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.

The car also gets as standard a four-wheel steering system that works in conjunction with bespoke damper, spring, brake and stability control settings to improve high-speed dynamics and make the car easier to manoeuvre at low speeds.

Outside of the GT range, engines offered with the new Mégane at launch include turbocharged petrol and diesel four-cylinder units that produce between 108bhp and 128bhp, emit as little as 96g/km of CO2 and can manage up to a claimed 76.4mpg.

A Hybrid Assist drivetrain, consisting of a 1.5-litre diesel engine and an electric motor, and more a potent 163bhp diesel engine will be launched next year. The former will be capable of a claimed 94mpg and CO2 emissions of 76g/km.

GT Line models

Range-topping GT Line models start from £19,600 in 128bhp diesel spec, increasing to £25,500 for GT Nav in 202bhp petrol form.

“We poured all our know-how into ensuring the GT would be both comfortable and a joy to drive,” said Patrice Ratti, managing director of Renault Sport. “It’s the perfect solution for buyers looking for performance, excitement and enjoyment at the wheel.”

The exterior design of the Mégane GT is also sportier than that of the standard models. It gets extra grilles, twin exhausts and a rear diffuser, while the interior has the hallmarks of more extreme Renault Sport models, including wraparound seats, pedals finished in aluminium and enhanced stitching and materials.

The driver can select between five driving modes on all Méganes, ranging from Eco to Sport.

On GT models, Sport mode is upgraded to RS Drive and will offer the sportiest dynamic set-up of any of the new range - prior to the anticipated arrival of a Mégane RS.

Each mode modifies accelerator and engine responses as well as adapting the speed of gearshifts. There are also more comfort-orientated modes that adapt the action of the massage seats and the cabin lighting.

Design

The Mégane’s more grown-up looks are notably different in character from those of the Clio, Captur and Kadjar. Instead, it has been designed to appeal to more mature buyers and is in keeping with the larger Renault Talisman and Espace, which aren’t sold in the UK. Most notably, the Mégane carries a new, C-shaped headlight signature and a horizontal graphic on the rear that accentuates the car’s stance. Higher-end models will feature full LED headlights and tail-lights as standard.

The new Mégane is longer, lower and wider than the outgoing model and as a result is more spacious inside. There’s a 2cm increase in rear knee space, and the boot volume of 434 litres is significantly up on that of rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.

Renault says it has put extra effort into the fit, finish and quality of the materials used. “Renault can produce cars with a Latin skin and a German heart,” said design boss Laurens van den Acker.

Technology

Renault has improved the interior quality of standard models, with all but the base models getting a full colour head-up display and a 7.0in multimedia display. As well as lending the cabin a modern feel, the head-up display allows the driver to stay focused on the road while simultaneously reading speed, navigation and driving aid instructions.

UK specifications include adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, lane departure warning, speed limit warning and blind spot monitoring. Automatic headlights, a reversing camera, parking sensors and a hands-free parking function will also be available.

Highest-spec models get an 8.7in touchscreen in place of the 7.0in version. It replaces numerous cabin buttons and allows the control of the satellite navigation, apps, radio and phone connection. 

The Mégane will be available with the option of a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, while selected petrol engines will come with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

Q&A with Renault design boss Laurens van den Acker 

How hard was it to reinvent the Mégane?

“This segment is the most competitive in the world. We’re going up against the very best - not just the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra but also the Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz A-Class and BMW 1 Series. We know we must up our game.”

How does the new Mégane fit into your range?

“I don’t see it as the big brother of the Clio; rather, it’s a smaller brother of the Talisman and Espace. The Clio is fun, whereas the new Mégane is a serious car. It will have the grown-up touches of the Talisman and Espace.”

What specific demands are there on a designer in this segment?

“It’s a segment where the car must do everything: be spacious enough to fit a family in, yet still look sexy and powerful, albeit in a sober way that conveys a lot of rationality, to underline claims around safety and fuel economy. We must offer every piece of modern technology for a reasonable price. It’s a car that conveys status.”

Can Renault design differently from the rivals you name?

“Well, we don’t come to work every day saying we must celebrate our differences and be provocative. I’m trying to create a brand with stability. But that doesn’t mean we can’t stand out.”

Our Verdict

Renault Megane

The Renault Megane looks bland, and it's not that good to drive either

Join the debate

Comments
49

21 February 2014
The French really are struggling with their design directions, hopping to and fro between radical and conservative styling. For example, the first Megane and Laguna were distinctive, even more so with the second generation models, before they went staid with current models. Citroen's previous C3, C4 and C5 were distinctive before being replaced by more mature looking, if duller, looking cars which doesn't seem to have done the marque and favours over here.

4 November 2015
like being middle-class. Once everyone's in it doesn't count for anything. Also if it means anything does it not just mean a higher margin for the maker, i.e. over-priced?

22 February 2014
Not sure where Yann Le Graet is coming from, as he is speaking like he is Le Quement. If the Clio, Captur and Twingo are anything to go by, it should be good. Perhaps a more premium offering than its Nissan sibling.

22 February 2014
Disagree with Saucerer - I think the are some great designs coming from the French manufacturers - witness the new Citroen Cactus and C4 Picasso - the Renault Zoe and Clio.

However this is not one of them! The new corporate end doesn't work because it is just a face lift of an older car. Could Renault not have waited until they replaced the Megane???

22 February 2014
Safari wrote:

Disagree with Saucerer - I think the are some great designs coming from the French manufacturers - witness the new Citroen Cactus and C4 Picasso - the Renault Zoe and Clio.

However this is not one of them! The new corporate end doesn't work because it is just a face lift of an older car. Could Renault not have waited until they replaced the Megane???

In fact it is a facelift of a facelift, the underpinnings date back to the Megane II with a bum from the noughties. I agree, Les Francaises are back on form, whereas Germany seem to be stuck in a design direction rut. All Audis are created by xerox, VWs have lost their design clarity and quality, Mercedes have lost their elegance and are way too bling now, Porsches are well, porsches (and increasingly looking like VW Beetles). Only BMW have anything interesting, but that is only in their EV ranges. They too have lost the design clarity of Bangle's designs (Z4 and 5 in particular).

26 March 2015
marj wrote:

Porsches are well, porsches (and increasingly looking like VW Beetles).

Reassuring to know I'm not alone in feeling that Porsches are increasingly looking like VW Beetles.

25 August 2015
I bought an F10 5 Series because I loved the understated looks vs the previous Bangle car. The Bangle 5 series had too many conflicting lines, a truly terrible boot line, and looked appalling on small wheels.

My wife also has a Z4 with the post Bangle facelift, and I think it's a very handsome car, way better than the first attempt.

I wonder what the comparative sales are like Bangle, and post-Bangle?

26 March 2015
Is this just the current (third?) generation model with a new front end and different door skins to give it something of the "waisted" look of the Clio and Captur, or is it, as Le Graet,said, "all-new"? If the former, that's a bit disappointing, given the fact that the current Megane is hardly at the top of its game. If the latter, then isn't it actually a fourth generation model? I like the new Renault style on the Clio, Captur and Kadjar (even if the latter looks suspiciously like a Mazda!) but it would be a shame to squander it on a facelift of an outdated model, unless they've done a lot of work under the skin to improve the dynamics of the mainstream versions.

26 March 2015
...that France is the current style leader for automotive design, even if the engineering is often a bit so-so.

Will be especially interesting to see if Citroen can make DS work as a standalone brand. The default premium choices are becoming ever more predictable and worthy - it might finally be the moment for something with a little Gallic flair to take a few sales away from the Germans. However, they do need to make them drive much better. The DS5 rides like a milk float.

26 March 2015
Hope it has not turned into a civic...

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