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by Tim Beissmann

Renault has unveiled 2012 Model Year upgrades to the Renault Megane small car and Megane Renaultsport hot hatch.

The updated model scores mild styling enhancements, efficiency improvements and new interior equipment and technology features, and sees the introduction of the more powerful Megane R.S. 265, which replaces the R.S. 250.

The 2012 Renault Megane range goes on sale across Europe from March, although its arrival in Australia appears likely to push out some months beyond that.


Renault Australia’s Emily Ambrosy told CarAdvice the local division was focusing on its current Megane line-up this year, and could not put a date on when the updated model would be available to Australian customers.

“We only introduced the Megane hatch and R.S. 250 into Australia at the end of 2010 and as such it is still a relatively new vehicle in our line-up,” Ambrosy said.

“At this time it is too early to confirm timing, engines and specification for our phase two and we will be focusing on our current product for 2012.”

The 2012 Renault Megane scores LED daytime running lights, redesigned front bumper with gloss black and chrome highlights, and fresh alloy wheel designs. Renault says the updated model also benefits from a greater focus on quality and attention to detail.

The interior gets new trim materials, while the Europe-only GT-Line models also add a number of other decorative features. All new models will come with Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, USB input and steering wheel-mounted controls for mobile devices as standard.

Also new to the Megane range is Renault’s Visio System. A camera fixed to the windscreen incorporates a lane departure warning system, and the system also automatically switches from high-beam to regular-beam headlights depending on the conditions and the presence of other road users.

The 1.5-litre dCi 110 diesel engine – now teamed with start/stop technology – is 15 per cent more fuel efficient than before, using 3.5 litres of per 100km under European consumption standards. Despite the savings, peak torque is up 20Nm to 260Nm (available from 1750rpm).

The 2012 Megane R.S. 265 gets an extra 11kW of power and 20Nm of torque, taking the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine’s peak outputs to 195kW (265hp) and 360Nm. Renault says the extra power – available when Sport mode is selected – leads to “crisper acceleration response” and allows the Megane to reach its full on-track potential.

Renaultsport engineers have also opened up the exhaust and reinforced the sound pipe to create a more satisfying engine note across the rev range.

The F1-style blade features two rows of LEDs and the headlights have new black surrounds. The alloy wheels now get R.S. badges, while the new Red Design Pack option splashes red stripes across the front blade, side sills and diffuser. The refreshed interior scores red stitching across the steering wheel, dashboard and gear lever, along with a black lacquer finish on the centre console and air vent surrounds and a charcoal finish on the door trim inserts.

The Renault Megane enjoyed a strong year in Australia in 2011. Sales of the Megane hatch increased 300 per cent to 971, while Megane R.S. 250 sales increased from 46 in 2010 to 407 last year. Approximately one-third of Megane sales have been diesels since the launch of the new variant in October.