This is the new Megane, and there’s a Renaultsport version comingWe quiz designer about Megane’s new ‘grown-up’ look, plus 94mpg hybrid and upcoming hot hatch version
Good news, hot hatch fans: the next-generation Renaultsport Megane is already designed and ready to go, according to Renault’s chief designer Laurens van den Acker.
Just don’t expect wings, slashes and splitters to rival the Civic Type R – the new Megane, says its designer, will be an altogether more mature type of car.
The photos you see above are of the, um, normal new Megane, unveiled today at the Frankfurt show, but van den Acker tells us the hot hatch version won’t be hugely more caricatured.
“Yes [the RS] is already designed, but the key with that car is to fulfil the performance handling, the design isn’t so important,” van den Acker tells us. “I can’t believe I’m saying that, but it’s true.”
Like the Focus RS, the Megane RS it will be five-door-only - a genius deduction on our part given that a three-door has already been ruled out for the entire range – and the smart money’s on a development of the current 2.0-litre turbo with around 300bhp.
Expect to see the next Megane RS by 2017, but whether it will inherit the Clio RS’ reluctant twin-clutch gearbox and shun a manual altogether isn’t clear. We live in hope of a three-pedal layout.
Plugging the gap until the RS arrives is the Megane GT, packing a not-so-shabby 202bhp 1.6-litre turbo and 911 GT3-style four-wheel steering, plus a seven-speed twin-clutch ‘box as standard. From next year you can have a diesel-flavoured GT too, with 163bhp and many torques.
Two other turbocharged petrol engines, with 99bhp or 128bhp, and three diesels with 89bhp, 108bhp or 128bhp will be available from launch. Renault says the big seller will be the mid-power diesel with a six-speed manual – good for an official 85.6mpg and emissions of 86g/km.
And the Megane will get greener still when a mild ‘Hybrid Assist’ diesel-electric model lands in early 2017. Renault is targeting a Prius-esque 94.1mpg and 76g/km.
While the Megane’s mellow styling will be new for us Brits, it’s actually been designed to match up with the Espace and Talisman models we don’t get in the UK, including the vertical 8.7-inch touchscreen that dominates the interior.
Luckily, van den Acker is full of interesting analogies to help us place the Megane in the range.
“If the Clio is the fun-loving university student, the Megane has just started its first job, wears a suit to work and takes things a little more seriously,” he explains. “It’s ambitious and wants its boss’s job.”
Right then. That’s design-speak, we think, for ‘we played it pretty safe with this one’. But what do you reckon, internet? Is the new Megane nicely understated, or a bit of a bland addition to the family hatch ranks?