Megane GT bids au revoir
Mark Smyth looks back on a year with the Renault Megane GT
The time has come to say au revoir to our Renault Megane GT. It spent most of its year in the care of Lerato but I have spent the past couple of months with it. I have mixed feelings about it, to be honest.
It looks superb. Renault head of design Laurens van den Acker and his team have done an incredible job on giving not just the GT but the entire Megane range a standout identity. From the C-shaped LED daytime running lights and low dynamic facade to the elegant side profile and those rear lights that curve across the tail, it all looks different to anything else on the road.
The interior too is a great space, where the designers have paid close attention to making everything modern and sporty, and also comfortable. That vertical touchscreen infotainment system looks brilliant but lacks the intuitive nature of many rival systems. At times it can be downright irritating too, failing to reconnect to streaming services like most rivals’ do. We also found ourselves often having to tap the screen a few times to get it to respond to inputs.
The seats have a proper sporty feel and provide decent support when you find a stretch of road to push things through the bends. It is this environment where the GT truly excels, with a well-sorted chassis and the opportunity to keep the revs at the upper end in one of the various modes and enjoy the front-wheel drive grip on offer. It’s cornering ability beats many of its rivals too, thanks in part to the 4Control rear-wheel steering. This also makes parking easier as it turns tighter.
Where the GT is not so happy is in traffic, particularly heavy commuter traffic. Here the dual-clutch EDC gearbox gets unsettled, jerking in lower gears as it tries to decide between first, second or third. It has reached a point on multiple occasions where I have switched everything into manual mode with Sport engaged and just left the revs slightly higher to avoid the box trying to change gears.
Together with the disconnecting audio streaming and that need to check your left mirror to see if a taxi or car is about to swipe you as it passes in the emergency lane, the GT can be a slightly stressful commuter.
Take the back roads though and the gearbox is much happier and so are you, even if you do find yourself stopping for more traffic lights and stop streets. If you are fortunate enough to be able to travel around outside of the rush hour hell then you will appreciate the GT even more.
We covered nearly 16,000km in the GT and what we really learned is the GT continues a legacy of hot Meganes. This is not a Golf GTi, designed to be quick, but mainly to flatter drivers who want to look quick but really just want to sit comfortably in town. The GT has been engineered as a performance model first and an urban commuter a distant second.
It deserves its fans, as did generations before, and models like the Honda Civic Type-R. Some will be able to live with it every day and others won’t, depending on your perception of what a hot hatch should be.
If Renault could just improve the gearbox then it would easily give rivals more of a run for their money as an everyday machine.
We have thoroughly enjoyed having the Megane GT in our fleet. It has been something different, especially in a country where the roads can be measured in Golf GTIs per kilometre. In spite of its flaws, the GT has character, flair and performance and it is easily the best looker in the segment by far.