The Market Needs A Paradigm Shift
“Behind the new Megane’s appeal, there is substance, technology and innovation that will make life easier and more rewarding,” Renault’s chief designer, Laurens Van Den Acker said. All over, the Megane GT Turbo is a mixture of sensual aesthetics, combed aerodynamics and hot hatch muscularity. A convincing formula to trump its German rivals – but for some reason, South Africans, especially those so-called no-it-all car enthusiasts still have a mental block to anything French. Quite frankly, the new Megane GT Turbo is a paradigm shift light years ahead of any critics “trapped in a box” mind-set.
The Megane GT Turbo is ultra-comfortable, there are five driver settings to choose from, that not only changes the vehicle’s driving dynamics, but also the colour theme of the vehicles interior lighting. Select sport mode and red lighting illuminates the cabin, the speedo also changes from analogue to a sporty digital display with obvious changes to the drivetrain: improved throttle response, a raspier exhaust note and tighter steering at the helm. Honestly, the Megane GT Turbo just had me seeing red all the time! Night-time driving features another one of the Megane GT Turbo’s innovations: 3D Edge Light LED technology headlights that produce a 180° halo or crescent of light at the front of the vehicle – quite celestial. Along with Renault’s latest and much anticipated concept: 4Control Chassis four-wheel steering system. A bold move by the French automaker and not the first time they have done it, but a standout feature that makes the Megane GT Turbo different to any other vehicles of its class. Being able to park like a fork-lift is one thing, but the rear-wheel rotation,(3°) bends the car around hairpin corners – an odd sensation at first, as the tail feels like it is going to step out into an oversteer or run adrift.
Nonetheless, it is easy to adapt to the extra yaw and at high speed the Megane’s handling, directional stability is pace setting and inspiring. Low profile R18’s provide plenty traction and grip to claw the tarmac, while 4Control steering dramatically reduces understeer for sharper cornering agility. Why on earth the paddle shifts are mounted on the steering column? I do not know, maybe it is a socialist thing. The EDC 7-speed automatic transmission offers seemless gearchanges and anyway it is great fun speeding towards a corner and just at the precise moment, paddle-shift down for a smooth corner entry and then allowing the transmission to shift up as you make a spectacular exit. The dual clutch transmission does an excellent job of delivering 280nm of torque to the front wheels, with a nimble pick-up of acceleration from as low as 2400rpm. The Energy TCe 205 1.6L turbocharged engine is a development of Renault Sport – producing 151kw of power and is exclusive to the new Megane GT Turbo range. With a 47L fuel tank and a range of 600km; open and urban driving equated to 7L-7.3L/100km.
One can really appreciate the interior space, ideal for a small family, comfortable Alcantara upholstered seats; the Megane GT Turbo is as civilized for a Sunday stroll as it is for a cage fight with a Polo GTi or Fiesta ST. I know more manufacturers are opting for total touchscreen reliance, no dials or rotary knobs, but a volume control dial provides more immediacy and convenience – otherwise at least have the audio controls on the steering-wheel.
Personally the Renault Megane GT Turbo is car that I would buy for my wife, and one I would most definitely enjoy driving myself. However, I would have to rob a bank to afford financing a car for R452 900. If I could, I would – I mean finance the car, not rob a bank!