The Renault Sport Megane is a cracker. It’s proof that a bit of understanding and thought behind chassis design and driving dynamics goes a long way, with the French hatch still being able to fend off much more modern, ‘advanced’ later-model rivals.
From an aesthetical point of view, its striking design lines, aggressive low roof line and resolute rear end set it apart from bland and dreary competition, branded with the ‘GTI’ moniker.
The engine hardware, in essence, is medieval. A regular four-point injection system, similar to those found on 4A-GE Corollas of the 80s, is still being used. It has no high-psi bore injection fanciness here, just good old EFI. However this works with the character of the car, with response being numbed, and in lieu of a linear curve comes something can dudes (generally) love – Surge.
Economy however is beyond good, given its rather dated engine tech. Averaging around 10l/100km to 11l/100km in pure Sydney commuting, you cannot fault consumption figures given the joy it brings once the turbine has adequate gas passing through it.
The drivetrain makes up for this, alas with traditional LSD that works a charm. Tightening the line with a bit of the loud pedal is doable in the French hatch, the shifter is slick, and it is geared quite well.
The chassis, well, it’s a Renault Sport, so need say more. It’s rather interesting front hub and steering arm arrangement apparently does something, and you’d be silly to disagree after a punt down your favourite B-road. I’ve yet to understand its logic after hours of pondering but hey, it seems to do the job just fine. Dynamically it’s a fantastic vehicle, with a kiss of the brake pre-apex inducing heavy opposite lock. If you’re just feeling a little bit silly, a simple lift off exercise will be ensued with light correction. It’s bliss.
My only gripe is the interior. But is that nothing new? So its not worth reiterating facts everyone already knows. The Recaros from the Trophee are worthy, however.