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Realising that some of its customers may not require the complete performance package of a MÃ©gane Renaultsport yet still hanker after a more dynamic drive and sportier looks, Renaultâ€™s new three- and five-door GT range offers both without a hefty price tag. The new GT range sits between the Dynamique and Renaultsport models with prices starting at Â£16,170 for the Sport Hatch GT 2.0 Turbo 165.
The GT range was first introduced by Renault on the Laguna range last year and a similarly thorough make-over as applied then has now been given to MÃ©gane. Befitting a model with the GT badge, this new sporty MÃ©gane range has a distinctly sporting air, with full sport bodykit with front, side and rear spoilers, plus twin chrome sports exhaust and 10mm lower and stiffened suspension. Giving the car an even more menacing look, particularly at the front, as well as ensuring that the new range is easily distinguishable from other MÃ©ganes, the GT features a chrome effect front grille and prominent honeycomb-style air dam. At the rear, a GT badge appears on the chrome effect plate between the twin exhaust pipes, both of which confirm the carâ€™s sporting credentials.
The sporting theme continues on the inside with front sport seats, leather sport steering wheel and silver/grey seat belts. The MÃ©gane GT features an extensive equipment list including 17â€ â€˜Jarsalleâ€˜ alloys, automatic headlamps and windscreen wipers, electric heated door mirrors, electric front and rear windows, ESP with ASR traction and CSV understeer control.
Power for the new GT range comes via either the proven 2.0 Turbo 165 engine or the latest Renault-Nissan Alliance developed diesel engine â€“ the 2.0 dCi 150, both of which are now reserved only for the GT range and the luxurious top-of-the-range Hatch PrivilÃ¨ge. The two-litre turbo 165hp petrol dispatches 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds before going onto a top speed of 137mph, with impressive fuel economy of 36.7mpg on a combined cycle. Customers seeking similar power but fewer visits to the pumps can opt for the new flagship 2.0 dCi 150 6-speed which delivers maximum torque of 340Nm@2000rpm, 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds, top speed of 130mph and 51.4mpg.
The new MÃ©gane GT range costs Â£16,170 and Â£16,670 for the 2.0 Turbo 165 versions of Sport Hatch and Hatch, or Â£17,170 and Â£17,670 for the 2.0 dCi 150 6-speed versions. Insurance groups for the new models are 10 for the 2.0 dCi 150 and 12 for the 2.0T 165, with CO 2 emissions of 146 and 184g/km and benefit-in-kind classifications of 18% for the diesel and 23% for the petrol.
Compared to two of its key rivals from Peugeot and Volkswagen, the latest addition to Renaultâ€™s MÃ©gane range fares extremely well in terms of performance per pound. From a petrol perspective, the Volkswagen Golf 1.4 GT TSI 3dr costs Â£18,095, nearly Â£2,000 more than the equivalent MÃ©gane Sport Hatch GT 2.0 Turbo 165, yet offers similar performance and economy from its 170hp engine. Similarly, the Golf GT TDI 140 has 10hp less than the MÃ©gane GT dCi 150 yet costs Â£825 more at Â£17,995. Fuel consumption is also worse than the MÃ©gane with a combined cycle figure of 49.6mpg.
The case is the same with the Peugeot 307 2.0 HDi 136 GT 3dr. Costing Â£17,500, the French rival is Â£330 more than the MÃ©gane Sport Hatch GT dCi 150 6-speed, but has 14hp less, a slower top speed of 125mph, is 1.1 seconds slower from 0-62mph at 9.8 seconds and less than 1mpg better at 52.3.
Ordering for the MÃ©gane GT range opens in mid-October.
*All prices quoted from manufacturer websites 12/10/06.