For an additional outlay of $13,000 over the regular Renault Megane (which is likely to be discontinued in the near future, according to dealer Wearnes Automotive), you get the GT-Line.
On the surface of things, a mere bodykit upgrade makes the premium that the GT-Line commands over the regular Megane seem like a lot of money, but the biggest improvements are under its skin and inside its cabin.
One of those enhancements is the addition of a RenaultSport-fettled chassis (the Sport chassis, to be specific – which sits just below the hardcore Cup chassis, something reserved only for the Megane RS). Happily enough, this results in little trade-off in terms of ride comfort over the standard one.
In fact, the GT-Line rides even better than the regular Megane – it’s supple when pootling around town and resists body roll admirably when push comes to shove. And the steering on this vehicle seems keener than that of the Megane, though that could be down to the former’s ContiSportContact tyres.
When hard driving occurs, you’ll be grateful for the supportive bucket seats with their high squabs and side bolsters. Unlike the fabulous thin-backed Recaro items found in the Megane RS, the seats here are a little too plush to be truly sporty. But given how it isn’t an out-and-out scorcher, they’re more than adequate.
Adding to the sporty vibe is an interior outfitted with a red-stitched steering wheel, “carbon fibre” dashboard trim, and an instrument cluster lifted straight from Renault’s stellar hot hatchback.
Not quite as sporty is the 1.5-litre diesel engine that comes with it. A power output of 110bhp and a century sprint time of 11.7 seconds are nothing much to crow about, neither is its rather agricultural, tractor-like engine note. That said, this automobile’s motor has 240Nm, which makes this “tractor” extremely tractable, something helped by its smooth (if a little slow to react) dual-clutch gearbox.
The transmission’s lack of quickness on the uptake might be an issue for some, but we’re sure nobody will find issue with its fuel economy, which is claimed at 23.8km per litre, giving it a theoretical range of 1428km. But even if you’re not doing a hypermiling super-economy run every day, a range of about 900km on a full tank shouldn’t be too difficult, which for most drivers would mean a fill-up once or twice a month.
The only question mark remains as to its price. At $131,999, it’s hardly chump change, but in addition to its outstanding fuel economy figure and somewhat racy handling (even though its engine is far from hot hatchback material), the GT-Line is also fairly well equipped.
It has a touchscreen infotainment system with integrated sat-nav and reverse-view camera, and an Arkamys eight-speaker stereo system. Not too shabby, then. But for roughly the same amount of money, you could get yourself a Volkswagen Golf 1.4. Or if going with the grain of car-buying opinion is more your speed, a Toyota Corolla Altis.
That said, neither the Volkswagen nor the Toyota will give you the same sort of frugality, nor does the pair have the vive le difference appeal and handling composure of the Renault.
ENGINE 1461cc, 16-valves, inline-4, turbo-diesel
MAX POWER 110bhp at 4000rpm
MAX TORQUE 240Nm at 1750rpm
GEARBOX 6-speed dual-clutch with manual select
0-100KM/H 11.7 seconds
TOP SPEED 190km/h
CONSUMPTION 23.8km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 110g/km
PRICE INCL. COE
$131,999 (after $15k CEVS rebate)