This engine isn’t a work of art, as we know from the Clio RS. It’s not beset with the mechanical sweetness of the powerplant used in the last warmed-up Mégane, the 220 GT, and it hides its occasionally discordant resonances behind synthesized automotive noises, which are piped in through the speakers.
The Mégane GT's problem isn’t merely one of character; it’s also one of performance. A peak output of 202bhp used to be ample for a C-segment car, but with nigh-on 1500kg to lug around, this Mégane feels a bit flat. Other than that, there are no other big performance holes to pick. Yes, peak torque comes in at a relatively lofty 2400rpm, but there’s still enough low-end to get you moving, albeit not at the pace you might have hoped for after seeing all those Renault Sport badges plastered over the outside.
The transmission mostly slips smoothly through its gears, but when you are pressing on it occasionally faffs about before selecting the cog you need. It’s also a shame that the gearshift paddles don’t have a better-engineered feel; their sloppy action is more befitting of a cheaply built PlayStation accessory than a car.
As always, Renault Sport has done an ace job on the spring and damper rates. Excess energy from a crest or dip is dissipated satisfyingly with just one vertical bounce, and as you tuck the car in to a bend there’s enough stiffness to stifle excessive body lean. It’s pretty comfortable, too, as long as you accept it wants hug the roads and follow every surface undulation. Importantly, though, the Mégane GT retains the compliance to filter out most heavy hits – aside from the odd cosmic crater that UK roads seem to specialise in.
You can dabble with the steering’s weight to find which one of its three modes suits you best, but you can’t do anything to improve the feel. There’s no ‘fizz’ through the rim, meaning you feel disconnected from the road surface, and the springy self-centring action away from the straight-ahead is annoying.
We’re not convinced by the 4Control four-wheel steering, either. It’s not subtle at slow speeds, delivering a nervousness that makes most turns a step into the unknown, although to be fair, perhaps a longer stint behind the wheel would get you better synchronised with it.
With regards to practicality, front space is good. Rear space isn't so great for anyone sitting behind someone tall, but the boot is sensibly sized. The interior quality is a huge step on from that of the previous Mégane, with a thoughtful design that makes it easy to use.
This includes the new infotainment system, which responds quickly to inputs on its large, high-resolution touchscreen display. The only technological curiosity is why Renault chose to make the lane-departure warning sound like the right-hand speaker is blowing every time you straddle a white line.