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Driven: Renault’s GT220 wagon lugs loads in a hurry

Quality not quantity: Renault is limiting the number of Megane GT220 wagons to 220 units in Australia, but demand could see this increase.

Hot Renault Sport-engineered Megane GT220 wagon arrives, but not for long

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Renault logo18 Jul 2013

RENAULT is tapping into Australia’s obsession with performance cars by releasing a limited edition Renault Sport-engineered performance wagon as a part of its latest Megane update.

On sale now from $36,990 plus on road costs, the GT220, as its name suggests, is limited to 220 units in Australia, but Renault said high demand could see this allocation increased.

By promoting the Renault Sport pedigree of the GT220, Renault is hoping the popularity of the performance brand in Australia will provide a flow-on effect to the rest of the refreshed Megane range and increase sales locally.

Australia is the biggest Renault Sport market per capita in the world, and we rank as the second largest market overall on sales for the performance brand.

Just like RS, other performance sub-brands such as Mercedes-Benz AMG, BMW M and Mini’s John Cooper Works do better here than elsewhere. Renault’s global partner Nissan is investigating whether it will bring its Nismo sports brand to Australia.

The chassis of the GT220 comes from the highly-regarded Megane RS 265 hot-hatch, and Renault has tweaked the steering from the standard Megane to suit.

Power comes from the RS265’s 2.0-litre turbo-charged engine, albeit a toned-down version pumping out 162kW/340Nm for a 0-100km/h dash of 7.6 seconds. As well as the allocation, the 220 in the car’s name also refers to its horsepower output.

Currently, the only direct competitor for the GT220 in Australia is the Skoda Octavia RS wagon that produces less power (147kW/280Nm) from its 2.0-litre turbo-charged engine, but is 0.1 second quicker from zero to 100km/h.

At $39,990, the slightly larger Octavia costs more than the GT220 and is due to be replaced by an all-new model early next year.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard on the GT220, and fuel consumption is 7.3 litres per 100km (the Octavia is 7.5L/100km) on the combined cycle while producing 169g/km of CO2 emissions.

Standard equipment includes an RS Monitor, which uses sensors to collect driving data relating to the engine and brakes, real-time power and torque figures, and includes a stopwatch and memory space for the quickest 0-100km/h and 400-metre standing start times.

Users can scroll through this data via steering wheel controls and view it on the dashboard display.

More standard fair includes roof racks, dual-zone climate control, hill-start assist, idle stop, rear parking sensors, LED daytime running lights, Bluetooth and audio streaming, rain-sensing wipers and a numbered plaque.

Buyers also have the option to add a $5000 Premium Pack featuring bi-Xenon headlights, panoramic sunroof, grey leather upholstery, heated front seats, a rear-view camera and Renault’s Visio lane-departure warning system.

Renault’s sleek wagon stands out as a performance variant thanks to 18-inch black gloss wheels, Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres, black gloss rear diffuser and GT220 badging, while the cabin features sports seats, carbon-fibre-look dash inserts and a red themed interior with stitching on the leather steering wheel.

A switch in production from Turkey to Spain has seen the entire Megane range achieve a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating (the outgoing model was not tested) and the GT220 includes six airbags as well as the usual array of safety features required for sale in most states of Australia.

Renault is introducing the GT220 as a part of a model-wide refresh of the Megane that includes a new entry-level model, upgraded mid-spec GT-Line and, for the first time, a wagon.

The current Renault Sport line-up in Australia consists of three Megane RS265 variants and – 265 Cup, 265 Trophy and 265 Trophy + - along with the occasional limited edition model, and the Clio RS which is in run-out mode as the third-generation hatch nears.

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