We drive the new 2017 Renault Megane GT to Clear Water Bay!

When I was asked to review the Renault Megane GT I decided straight away that I was not going to research the car, so as not to form any judgement and try to experience the GT first hand. I arrived at the Renault showroom to find a gleaming, blue, 5 door hatch-back parked outside.

The new Megane GT has fantastic lines, and stands out far more than other hatch back’s in its class. The styling is more curvy than VW Golfs, Mercedes A-class and BMW 1 series that have been flooding the streets of Hong Kong.

Upon greeting the staff, I received a thick plastic card thinking it was the tag for the parking garage, though I guessed wrong as it was in fact the car keys! All set to go, I opened the doors and immediately noticed the red ambient lighting along the doors and floor area. This sets a very nice mood for the car – the colour and intensity of the mood can be controlled via the centre console, a nice touch!

The sports bucket seats was a perfect balance between comfort support – unlike those found in the VAG lineup, a pleasant surprise indeed. As I drove off and spent the first few km’s adjusting the driving position, whilst glancing around the car’s interior and not concentrating I quickly merged lanes at low speed and got a shock as I assumed I had over-steered or worse, snapped the car in half! After a few moments it hit me that this must be the ‘4Control’ system kicking in. 4Contol is designed to allow the rear wheels to turn in the opposite direction to the front, at speeds below 60-80km/h (depending on the driving mode). This allows the car to be more nimble and easier to maneuver in tight corners and a good fit for Hong Kong – slotting in narrow traffic gaps. Once the speed is above 60-80 km/h the front and rear wheels angle in the same direction which is much more natural boosting both handling and confidence.

Apart from my incident with the discovery of the 4Control system I didn’t find anything thrilling about the Megane GT, if anything, it was very docile and easy to maneuvre  around the city.  We headed away from the city area to really test the true potential of this car. Along the journey whilst playing with the touch screen centre console I stumbled across options to select different, individual driving modes; which allow adjustment of multiple elements: from steering and suspension behavior, to engine response. This also changes the colour scheme of the digital gauge cluster. I settled on the Sport mode which illuminates RED, and immediately noticed the car to be much more engaging and responsive.

This particular Megane GT came with a 1.6-liter turbocharged petrol direct injection unit boosting 205bhp and 280nm, which was paired to a seven-speed EDC gearbox. The pair provides seamless acceleration, throughout the entire RPM and gear range, but I was disappointed that I was unable to have full control of the gears despite using the paddles. The car would upshift automatically for me, and on the downshifts, it seemed to take longer than usual to give me the gear I demanded. Another setback is engine noise. Due to the level of soundproofing the car feels like it is not nearly as fast as it is. On the upside, the lack of road noise inside the car is fantastic!

The suspension is stiff enough to provide you with plenty of confidence whilst driving, and without giving you an unwanted massage when driving on bumpy roads. I drove this car out to Clear Water Bay country park, the combo of wheel base length, suspension, tires and the Megane’s chassis works like a charm and simply put – one of the best handling hatch-backs!

The Megane GT’s superior handling, decent power output and overall comfort will be sure to impress even the most demanding customer. When compared to the Clio RS 220 Trophy we test drove back in August  I was delighted to find that the Megane GT had answered my concerns about the Clio. The only thing missing is a manual gearbox which is rumoured to be available in the upcoming Renault Megane RS due in 2018.


Summary Score

  1. Performance – 3.5/5
  2. Handling – 4/5
  3. Everyday Living – 4/5
  4. Design Styling – 4/5
  5. Interior – 4/5
  6. Technology + Gadgets – 4/5

Prices starting from HK$ 336,800

For more info on the Renault Megane GT view the official site here.

Author: Conrad Banks

Photos by: Marco Automotive Photography

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