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Renault eyes Megane GT

Possible inclusion: Renault Australia is thought to be keen on a wagon variant of the Megane GT range.

New sub-RS Megane flagship series – including diesel and wagon – on the menu for Oz

Renault logo16 Apr 2012

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

RENAULT is contemplating importing a sub-Renaultsport range of Megane GT models to Australia within the next 12 months, to compete directly with the successful Volkswagen Golf and Peugeot 308.

Using chassis developed by Renault Sport Technologies – makers of the Clio RS200 and Megane RS250 – the GT series is designed to be the softer luxury flagship level of the French small-car range.

In Europe, where the GT has been available since 2010, it features across all existing third-generation Megane bodystyles, including the CC coupe-cabriolet, wagon, three-door coupe and five-door hatch.

A wagon range is thought to be on Renault Australia’s wish-list and would mark a first for the Megane in this country.

In Europe, the GT is available in two 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo specifications – the TCe 180 petrol (producing 132kW of power and 300Nm of torque for a 0-100km/h sprint time of 7.8 seconds) and the DCi diesel (110kW/360Nm with six-speed automatic, or 118kW/380Nm with six-speed manual).

While the diesels are slower to 100km/h (at 8.5s for the manual and 9.2s for the auto) than the petrol, their fuel consumption (manual 5.9L/100km and auto 6.6L/100km) beat the petrol variant’s 7.6L/100km decisively.

35 center imagePricing in Europe suggests that Renault Australia would have to position the expected volume-selling Megane GT five-door hatch around $35,000, to leave some space for the RS250 Cup, which kicks off from $41,990.

Tellingly, the GT cars miss out on Renaultsport’s ‘performance hub independent steering axis’ front suspension, as well as a limited slip differential, but feature specifically calibrated dampers, RS-derived rear bump stops and the same 296mm ventilated front discs and 260mm solid rear discs as the RS250.

Riding 12mm lower, the GT cars feature unique 18-inch alloy wheel designs, different colours and trim to regular Meganes, a reshaped central air intake, additional gloss work on the bumpers, black headlight surrounds and a new rear diffuser.

If given the green light, it is unclear whether Renault Australia will source the Megane GT from the same Bursa, Turkey plant that supplies the existing X32 five-door hatch, or those in Palencia, Spain and Douai, France.

Obviously designed to snare consumers attracted to the RS models but not willing to sacrifice comfort, the GT would fill a gap in Renault’s local model range.

Renault claims the GT models “bring distinctive styling and genuine driving emotions within reach of as many motorists as possible and also bridge the gap between mainstream Megane and the all-out performance credentials of Megane RS”.

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