This is the new Renault Megane GT. Think of it as an RS-lite. The chassis is still developed by Renaultsport but it’s tuned to be more relaxed than the full-on 250 and 250 Cup models.
That anonymous Megane GT TCe 180 badge masks the fact that power still comes from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, but it’s optimised for torque rather than power so its relatively modest 178bhp is back up by a strong 221lb ft.
So how quick is the new Renault Megane GT?
Performance is more than adequate thanks to that wave of torque, with 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds and a top speed of 142mph. The GT costs £22,410.
That price is a bit of a sticking point as the 250 Cup costs £23,610 and has much more performance, the clever independent steering axis front suspension (similar to Ford’s RevoKnuckle; Renaultsport claims to have launched it first but didn’t talk too much about it or give it a swanky name), a mechanical limited-slip differential and truly extraordinary talent.
Still, if the GT offers a more subtle, more supple experience it could just stack up.
Renault Megane 2.0 GT TCe 180: the lowdown
It certainly looks cool on its graphite-coloured alloys and the stance is still nice and aggressive. The ride on this sported-up Megane is more supple, the gearbox feels lighter and slicker, and that engine feels terrifically responsive in the low and mid-range. So far so good.
However, up the pace a bit and suddenly the 2.0-litre motor feels both restrained at the top end (like there’s an electronic brake on how much boost it can deliver) and also a bit harsh. And that torque isn’t matched by real fireworks at the top end, so you feel like you’re missing out. You have to drive it almost like a turbodiesel engine.
And the ride and handling? Is it Renaultsport Lite?
Renaultsport may have had a hand in the chassis but this is no 250 Cup when it comes to grip and fun through the corners. It torque-steers quite markedly, the steering is light and a bit vague and traction is limited in damp conditions. The GT doesn’t feel as stable as its big brother, either.
Overall the Megane Coupe GT a bit of a disappointment. Yes, there are times when it seems a bit more sophisticated than the 250, a little less demanding of the driver, but they are outweighed by the remoteness of the steering and the lack of control at higher speeds.
If it was a substantial chunk cheaper than the RS, it might make some sense. But at a chunky £22,410, it wouldn’t lure us away from the most exciting hot hatch on sale today.