What is it?
Designing a modern, sporty hatchback is a dark art. If your job is creating Ferraris or Lamborghinis, then life’s a breeze: make it fast, make it look good and make it exciting. Simple.
Yet for a sporty family car, such as this new Renault Mégane GT 205, the brief is so much broader. It has to handle but be comfortable, be quick but drivable and stylish but practical. The juxtapositions are seemingly endless, but the budgets constraining you aren’t. So much so, in fact, you have to wonder how on earth they do it for just £25,500.
So, let’s run through the Mégane GT's highlights. Its 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol is from the Renault Clio RS 200 and produces a decent 202bhp and 207lb ft. As with the Clio, it comes with the EDC seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission as standard.
The Mégane GT is underpinned by Renault’s four-year-old CMF platform, but Renault Sport has played about with the springs, dampers, steering ratio and engine breathing. Although on that last point, don’t be fooled by the twin rear exhaust pipes: one is a dummy.
Renault Sport has also tuned the Mégane GT’s standard 4Control four-wheel steering. Switch it to RS mode and below 50mph the rear wheels steer 2.7deg in the opposite direction to the fronts, sharpening turn-in; above 50mph they steer 1.0deg in the same direction, aiding high-speed stability.
Unique in the class is a huge 8.7in portrait touchscreen, which is complemented by other technology that, while prolific elsewhere, is still noteworthy for the Mégane: LED headlights, traffic sign recognition and launch control, to name but a few. All of this can be had for just £25,500, remember. Of course the burning question is whether or not it's a good sporty hatch.