It could be said that Renault invented the hot hatch. The Renault 5 Alpine did debut a few months before the Volkswagen Golf GTI, and even if VW’s offering is currently more popular worldwide, Renault has always offered some strong contenders for the European market. The latest, which was just unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show, is the Megane GT. It’s not the fire breathing monster that Renault’s RS hatchbacks are, but it is closely related while making some compromises in the name of practicality and usability, not to mention price.

Renault’s hot hatches have only at times directly competed with VW’s, usually being just different enough from the GTI that it wouldn’t be too diffiuclt a decision to pick one over the other. That is very much not the case with the new Megane GT, which is aimed squarely at the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, and indeed the whole Megane line is of late more of a direct competitor to VW. Renault has always done hatchbacks extremely well, but it’s difficult to ignore the fact that VW has a big share of the hatchback market, especially the hot hatch market, and Renault seems to be gunning to take that away.

Updated 09/23/2015: We’ve added a series of new photos we took at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Find them in the "Pictures" tab.

Continue reading to learn more about the Renault Mégane GT.

  • 2016 Renault Mégane GT
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Transmission:
    seven-speed EDC
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    205
  • 0-60 time:
    6 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Renault Mégane GT High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Renault Mégane GT High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Renault Mégane GT High Resolution Exterior
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The styling of the Megane GT is big departure from the current Megane, but less of this is specific to the GT than it may at first appear. Renualt is launching a new generation of the Megane, and the GT is one of the first examples of this, so regualr four-door hatch version of the Megane will soon look more like this GT than they do like the model currently on dealer lots.

There will be some differences though. The lower air intake now has side scoops, the side mirrors are finished in a metallic paint instead of a body-colored one, there is a rear diffuser and special 18-inch wheels. Some of these touches will also be added to the new generation of the Golf R-fighting Megane RS model, but we’ll have to wait and see that one. The paint color is called “Iron Blue” and it seems to be a signature color of sorts for the car. It matches much of the inteior, although surely other colors will be available.

Interior

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2016 Renault Mégane GT High Resolution Interior
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2016 Renault Mégane GT High Resolution Interior
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The interior of the GT is one area where the car seems to have a real advantage. Renualt has managed to give this one a modern look, complete with a heads up display and a large infotainment screen in place of a number of the button controls. It works quite well, and the blue-black color scheme in the photos is especially good. The sport seats come very close to being racing buckets, and there is a choice of three upholstery options, fabric, Alcantara with blue stripes and Alcantara with black stripes. There is blue stitching on the steering wheel and gear shift lever to match the other blue touches.

Drivetrain

2016 Renault Mégane GT High Resolution Exterior
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The GT’s engine puts out 205 horsepower. As of now, the only transmission option that Renault has announced for the GT is a seven-speed dual-clutch. It would be nice to see an option of a six-speed manual, but there officially isn’t one, at least not yet. Of course, the dual-clutch transmission does come with launch control, and that is always cool. What the car does have, which is unique to this segment, is four-wheel steering. This is potentially a great thing for handling, something that isn’t always a strong point on hot-hatches. Renault is obviously claiming that the new handling will be positively sublime, but it would be odd if it didn’t.

Safety

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The current generation of the Megane hatch is not outstanding in the safety department, getting just three stars from the Euro NCAP. That said, it suffered most when it came to pedestrian safety and a lack of drivers aides like blindspot warnings. It was considerably better in terms of how it actually protected occupants during a crash. This new generation may fare better, but if it doesn’t then it will continue to lag behind the competition in this area.

Prices

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Renault hasn’t released official pricing information, but with the car being aimed so clearly at the VW GTI, it would be strange if the price wasn’t similarly aimed at the GTI’s €29,000 price tag. The only hiccup would be if there isn’t a manual transmission offered, in which case you’re probably looking at something closer to the €31,000 price for the similarly-equipped VW. For Americans, that would mean a starting price of $27,515 if it was being sold here, which it won’t.

Competition

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Always what you end up comparing hot hatches to, but this time it’s more deliberate than it’s been in the past. From the look of things so far, the choice between the Renault and the VW will come down largely to personal taste, or whether you prefer red stitching or blue stitching for your interior. Renault has been in this game for a while, but it’s still a real fight anytime you want to take on an icon.

Read our full review here.

2012 Opel Astra GTC

2012 Opel Astra GTC High Resolution Exterior
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Coming with only a couple-horsepower deficit, the GTC comes with a €26,000 price tag, making potential customers take a really good think about how badly they need those extra horses, and whether it’s worth paying as much as €1,000 each for them. For those wishing for a bit more power, the GTC OPC offers just a bit less horsepower than a Golf R for €3,000 less. It might not look quite as good as the VW or the Renault, but the price difference does make a convincing argument.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

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Taking on the GTI is never an easy thing to do, but there was ever a company to do it it is Renault, and if there was ever a car that was perfectly suited to the task, it is this one. It’s an attractive car, and if it’s been done right, the slight power difference won’t matter. It also does a great job of really turning up the anticipation of what the RS model that will be used to go up against the 2016 Volkswagen Golf R will be like. It’s enough to make you wish it was sold in the US, or at the very least that Renault would slap a Nissan badge on it and ship it over. That’s probably just wishful thinking though.

  • Leave it
    • having 5 more horsepower than a GTI instead of 5 less would have been a better plan
    • no manual, at least so far as we know
    • not coming to the U.S.

Press Release

The flagship of the new Mégane range at launch will be the Renaultsport-inspired GT, featuring unique exterior and interior embellishments, a 205hp TCe engine mated to a seven-speed EDC dual-clutch transmission, segment-first 4Control four-wheel steering and bespoke chassis settings.

2016 Renault Mégane GT High Resolution Exterior
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The design of the GT’s front bumper signals the step-up in sportiness that goes hand-in-hand with the Renaultsport DNA. It is complemented by a special design for the upper and lower grilles.

The lower air intake is wider and flanked by air scoops, while a Dark Metal finish – in particular for the door mirror housings – confirms that the car is a true Renault. The optional 18-inch diamond-effect, GT-badged wheels were specially developed by Renaultsport. At the rear, two chrome-plated exhaust tailpipes echo the style of the twin air scoops at the front to provide a sense of symmetry. The tailpipes flank a diffuser that takes its inspiration from Formula One. The new Mégane GT carries Renaultsport badging on the left-hand rear, as well as on both front wings.

The interior is Renaultsport through and through. The wrap-around seats with integral headrests, blue top stitching and a chequered sports logo are comfortable while providing firm lateral support. Three different upholstery choices are available: fabric, Alcantara leather with blue stripes and Alcantara leather with black stripes. There is a bespoke steering wheel, sports pedals in aluminium, a special gear lever and steering-wheel mounted gearshift paddles.

2016 Renault Mégane GT High Resolution Exterior
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The information delivered by the instrument pack and display screen is enhanced, too, most notably with the addition of a Race mode. Hints of blue within the cabin pick up on the new Iron Blue exterior colour to reinforce the GT’s unique identity.

The new Mégane GT is the first vehicle in its segment to feature four-wheel-steer 4Control technology, specially calibrated by engineers from Renaultsport. The 4Control chassis is a Renault innovation that ensures precise alignment of the rear wheels, providing exceptional driving enjoyment and sporting responsiveness with safety.

4Control ensures precise, dynamic handling on twisty roads with total stability at higher speeds. In emergencies, the four-wheel steering provides reassuring, lightning-fast responses. The car becomes smoother, more precise and more relaxing to drive, without dulling enjoyment. The system also improves manoeuvrability at slower speeds or when parking.

Rounding up the GT’s chassis package are recalibrated dampers, springs, ESC and brakes with no loss of comfort and versatility.

Meanwhile, the GT employs new technologies specially developed by Renaultsport, including Multi Change Down, which enables rapid downshifting, and Launch Control for super-swift getaways from a standing start.

2016 Renault Mégane GT High Resolution Exterior
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“At Renaultsport we poured all our know-how into ensuring the new Mégane GT would be both comfortable and a joy to drive,” says Patrice RATTI, Managing Director, Renault Sport Technologies. “The 4Control four-wheel steering system combines with a suspension specially tuned by Renaultsport engineers to deliver a unique experience on all types of road. With its 205hp engine, seven-speed EDC gearbox operated via steering wheel-mounted shift paddles, unique exterior styling and its sports-focused interior, the new Mégane GT is the perfect solution for buyers looking for performance, excitement and enjoyment at the wheel!”

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