Based on Renault's Common Module Family C/D architecture, the GT is – until the arrival of the RS later this year – hero of the all-new, fourth-generation Megane line-up.
It bristles with Renault Sport technology: new generation, 151kW/280Nm 1.6-litre, turbo-charged, petrol engine driving through an enhanced Efficient Dual Clutch (EDC) seven-speed transmission, RS Drive Mode with Launch Control and Multi-Change Down shift control.
There’s also the unique MULTI-SENSE personalisation system, which offers Normal, Comfort, Sport or Perso modes to configure engine, transmission and steering settings, alter interior lighting and dash displays, at the touch of a button.
But it’s the new 4CONTROL system that is the real point of difference. At up to 60km/h (80km/h in Sport mode), the rear wheels steer in the opposite direction to the front wheels for greater manoeuvrability. Above 60km/h (80km/h in Sport mode), the wheels steer in the same direction to enhance cornering grip and control.
The GT impresses with its strong, mid-range engine response and planted grip. Nought to 100km/h comes up smartly in 7.1 seconds. ADR combined cycle fuel figure is 6.0 litres/100km, though we averaged 9.0 giving it a thorough interrogation.
In Sport mode, Renault has achieved what not many do – melding a fine balance of compliant ride with well-weighted steering and entertaining dynamics. And yes, the 4CONTROL can be felt doing its thing, working with you in flowing the car around a corner.
Alcantara-covered sports seats, flat-bottomed sports steering wheel and aluminium pedals make for a comfy, functional work station for the driver. And there seems to be some validation of Renault’s claims of lower NVH (noise, vibration, harshness), except on coarse-chip road surfaces where tyre ‘roar’ intrudes.
The new Megane is longer, lower and has a wider front and rear track. Cargo space extends to a generous 434 litres (rear seats up) or 1247 litres (folded). Front seat occupants enjoy 22mm more head room, though adult rear seat passengers might not find the interior so accommodating.
The latest connectivity abounds, including Renault’s R-LINK 2 multimedia infotainment system which enables audio, satellite navigation, phone and vehicle settings.
A five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, along with capped price servicing for the first three scheduled (annual or up to 30,000km) services, priced at $299 each, enhances the value equation.