We were lucky enough to join the Renault Group over the weekend for the launch of the fourth generation Mégane which will be available in the 26 Irish dealerships from July, priced from €19,490. We had seen images of the car prior to the launch but in the metal it looked even better with a longer wheelbase and wider track making it look low slung and aggressive, especially wearing the GT Line bodykit. Other models available will include the Expression, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav, and GT Nav trim and as expected, all have a 5 star Euro NCAP rating.
After admiring the exterior for some time we took the keys and set off on a preplanned route incorporating some nice twisty B roads. There is a choice of engines for buyers, which include two Energy TCe turbocharged petrol options of 1.2 litres/130hp and 1.6 litre GT with 205hp. The turbodiesel options are the 1.5-litre 110hp engine with manual or EDC transmission, and a 1.6-litre dCi unit developing 130hp. The CO2 of the manual dCi 110 is just 96g/km and this was the engine powering our test car. Initial impressions were good with a smooth power delivery from the trusty 1.5dCi. Road noise was minimal and it just felt like a quality drive from the moment we set off.
The car that intrigued us most although not available to test was the TCe 205 GT, which is capable of doing the 0-100km/h dash in 7.1 seconds and a top speed of more than 230km/h. This is a car Renault feel will make much more sense because it has performance, economy and a road tax price of just €280. It gives Renault performance car fans an option before the mighty RS, which is some time off right now. Next Renault also want to add a 1.6-litre dCi 165hp GT, with a new 7-speed EDC transmission given buyers even more choice but that will be late next year.
Inside the Mégane has distinctive front and rear ambient lighting, which are permanently on when the engine is running. Some of the colour options are a bit “in your face” but using the 7-inch screen they are configurable. Renault introduces the new R-LINK 2 connectivity system, which you can use on the 7-inch landscape or 8.7-inch portrait tablet depending on your cars spec. Multi-sense features customisable driving programmes, which adapt engine sounds, steering response, engine power depending on the selected driving mode. In the GT version the button R.S. Drive, gives you instant access to Sport mode.
Our test route was just 30 minutes long but the cabin is a comfortable place to be with high-quality soft-touch materials and super comfortable sports seats. With our initial test drive complete we will now look forward to spending a week with the car later in the year where we can give a more detailed review. Right now cars ordered and registered before 31st August can be bought from €155 per month through Renault Finance with 3% APR, 3 years servicing and 5 years warranty.
If you want to hold out for something even more economical, Renault have plans for a Hybrid Assist diesel-electric powertrain based on the Energy dCi 110 unit coming next year. Renault aims to hammer the class with a CO2 figure of just 76g/km, with fuel economy in the NEDC combined cycle below 2.9 l/100km. They are certainly not resting on their laurels and we have no doubt the new Mégane is going to do the numbers. Go get a test drive today at a dealer near you!