As you can see, the 2016 Renault Mégane features entirely new styling, embodying the latest design theme set down by design chief Laurens van den Acker. But that fresh sheetmetal also stretches over a larger form that offers more interior space than the model it replaces. The interior isn't just roomier, though – it also boasts a number of features you might not expect at this market level. It's got a color head-up display, a seven-inch TFT display (which can be upgraded to an 8.7-inch tablet), Bose audio system, massaging driver's seat... the works. It even offers full LED headlights and four-wheel steering, all in a mass-market model that starts to make us wish Renault would join its ally Nissan in the North American market.
Engine options include gasoline and diesel powertrains ranging in output from 90 horsepower up to 205. Although a more hardcore Renaultsport model will likely raise the bar for performance front-drivers even further, the company is launching the new Mégane with a GT model that gets it part-way there. It packs a 205-hp engine, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, four-wheel steering, enhanced suspension, 18-inch wheels, twin exhaust tips, an upgraded aero package, and an enhanced interior to make it look and feel sportier than the base model. It ought to at least hold us over until the hotter version arrives to challenge the likes of the Honda Civic Type R and Seat Leon Cupra 290.
All of these elements add up to a potential new market leader that its rivals ought to look out for. As for the rest of us, we'll just have to scope it out from the opposite shore. And scope it out you can in the gallery of live images from the Frankfurt show floor above and the stock galleries after the (UK-market) press release and video playlist below.
- Wide range of highly-efficient engines, with diesel hybrid to come
- Dynamic exterior with distinctive front and rear lighting
- Fuel economy of up to 85.6mpg with CO2 as low as 86g/km
- GT version created in association with Renaultsport
- 4Control four-wheel steering – unique in class
- Multi-Sense: personal driving modes and settings
- Portrait-style 8.7-inch display screen among several class firsts
- Loaded with high-tech features, including colour head-up display
- Based on Renault's Common Module Family (CMF) platform
- On sale in Europe from early 2016, in UK from summer 2016
The dynamic-looking, high-quality, All-New Mégane – loaded with technology features from higher-segment cars – is Renault's star attraction at this year's IAA in Frankfurt. Alongside a range of highly-efficient petrol and diesel engines, it will be available from launch as a GT created in association with Renaultsport. A 'Hybrid Assist' diesel will be added in 2017. The new Mégane goes on sale in mainland Europe early next year with UK deliveries anticipated in the summer
"The new Mégane plays an integral part in Renault's design renewal strategy," says Laurens van den Acker, Senior Vice President, Corporate Design. "Its dynamic lines project both sensuality and status, while its assertive proportions provide it with a well-planted stance on the road and its sculpted forms and strong shoulders hint at the brand's Latin roots. It features a distinctive lighting signature both front and rear, by day as well as by night, and its elegant interior exudes an unmistakeable cockpit feel."
The new Mégane is based on Renault's Common Module Family (CMF) vehicle architecture, which makes it possible to offer high-tech features normally available only in cars from higher segments. A number are segment firsts, including a full colour head-up display, a 7-inch colour Thin Film Transistor (TFT) instrument display, a portrait-format 8.7-inch R-Link 2 touchscreen and 4Control four-wheel steering for the GT.
The six highly-efficient engines that will be available at launch have power outputs ranging from 90 to 205hp, with fuel consumption and CO2 emissions as low as 85.6mpg and 86g/km for the ENERGY dCi 110.
Dynamic styling with a distinctive lighting signature
The new Mégane's dynamic stance is founded on well-balanced proportions. It is 64mm longer (4,359mm) and 25mm lower (1,447mm) than the third-generation Mégane, and has a 28mm longer wheelbase (2,669mm), which is greater than that of rival models. The front and rear track widths have been widened by 47mm and 39mm respectively to 1,591mm and 1,586mm, while the rear overhang has been shortened compared. Wheel sizes of up to 18 inches will be available.
At the front, Renault's corporate identity is evident in the large, upright diamond logo and broad grille. This is accentuated by daytime running lights incorporating LED technology to provide a distinctive C-shaped signature that extends down to the bumper. Higher-end versions feature full-LED lighting modules for both dipped and main beams. This Pure Vision LED technology delivers a significant improvement in night-time vision compared with halogen lighting.
Thanks to its strongly sculpted shoulders, the new Mégane radiates the sensuality embedded in Renault design. Taut and precise lines along the lower part of the body and bonnet align towards the front to enhance the dynamic poise of the car. Chrome trim at the front and around the side windows, badges and door handles emphasises the quality of the new Mégane.
There are air scoops either side at the front, deflectors at the rear and motorised flaps which automatically close to reduce drag, making the new Mégane an extremely aerodynamically efficient car and contributing towards its low fuel consumption and emissions.
The rear light units, also all-LED, feature tail lights that are permanently illuminated. This novel horizontal signature helps to accentuate the car's width. Thanks to new Edge Light technology, it provides a slender 3D brush stroke effect that emits a purple-hued red light.
Elegant, cockpit-style interior
The new Mégane has a cockpit-style interior with a suiteof high-tech features clustered around the driver to create an enveloping L-shape. They include a number of class firsts: a full colour head-up display, traditionally reserved for vehicles in higher segments; a 7-inch colour Thin Film Transistor (TFT) instrument display; and a portrait-format 8.7-inch R-Link 2 touchscreen as an alternative to the landscape 7-inch screen.
Special focus has been placed on the finish, quality of materials and harmony of the cabin. The soft-touch dashboard extends in a continuous sweep to the top door cappings. It also runs from the lower edge of the dashboard to the centre console. High-end versions feature a full-grain Nappa leather-trimmed steering wheel with elegant chrome detailing, which is echoed on the instrument, air vent, console and switch surrounds.
A tall and broad centre console incorporates a fore/aft adjustable armrest. Higher-end versions focus attention on the console with two slender lines of glowing light, the hue of which can be personalised.
Sculpted seats provide optimum comfort and support with the help of dual density foam. Taking their inspiration from the worlds of interior furnishings and leather goods, the seat materials are warm and modern. Special attention has been paid to the detailing of the top stitching on the seats and door casings.
There are five upholstery grades, all in shades of black. High-end versions are available with plush velour developed with Alcantara, giving a powerful lustre and an intense black 3D effect. High-end versions come with heated seats and electric lumbar adjustment. The driver seat incorporates a massage function.
The new Mégane's boot capacity of 434 litres is the second largest in the compact car sector and is complemented by interior stowage space totalling 25 litres. Rear knee room of 175mm is a 20mm improvement over that of the third generation Mégane, while shoulder width (1,441mm at the front, 1,390mm in the rear) is amongst the segment's best. The new Mégane consequently delivers the best of both worlds when it comes to rear passenger space and boot capacity.
BOSE audio systems ensure high quality sound. Engineers from BOSE worked in close co-operation with their counterparts at Renault to optimise the integration of the nine speakers, subwoofer and digital amplifier so that the sound is precise, balanced, tailor-engineered and crystal clear.
Technology from higher segments
The use of the CMF modular architecture permits the new Mégane to offer features more usually associated with larger and more expensive cars, and is drawn from the new Espace and Talisman. This comprehensive suite of technologies is unique in the segment and includes the head-up display, TFT instrument display and portrait-style 8.7-inch screen, plus Multi-Sense technology and 4Control.
The retractable colour head-up display enhances safety by reducing the amount of time the driver needs to look away from the road to take in the most important information – speed, navigation instructions and driving aids.
There is a comprehensive selection of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), controlled through the R-Link 2 tablet. They include adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking; lane departure, safe distance and speed limit warnings, the latter linked to traffic sign recognition; and blind spot monitoring. A reversing camera, automatic switching between main and dipped headlight beams, hands-free parking and front, rear and side parking aids are also available.
Higher-specification models feature R-Link 2 complete with an 8.7-inch portrait-format display as an alternative the landscape-style 7-inch screen. The portrait display screen employs capacitive 'pinch & zoom' technology for easier use, much like that of a smartphone or tablet computer.
R-Link 2 includes voice recognition for safe operation of the navigation, telephone, apps and radio. Its three customisable home pages allow swift access to the most frequently used functions. A connectivity package, including a 12-month subscription to TomTom LIVE services and access to the R-Link Store, expands its scope.
The content of the 7-inch colour TFT instrument display can be customised, depending on the selected driving mode. The dashboard displays not only fundamental data like speed, but also numerous other information relating to navigation or driving aids.
Renault's innovative Multi-Sense technology allows users to personalise their driving experience by modifying accelerator pedal and engine response, adjusting the speed of the gearshifts performed by the Efficient Dual Clutch (EDC) automatic transmission and controlling the massage function of the seats and the cabin lighting environment. The Multi-Sense button on the centre console provides instant access to these functions.
The system offers a choice of five different driving modes – Sport, Normal, Comfort, Perso and Eco. On the GT version, Eco is replaced by an R.S. Drive mode.
Five different interior lighting ambiancesare available: red, green, blue, purple and brown. The illumination covers the centre console, as well as the front and rear doors of high-end versions, and is linked to the display colour on the TFT screen and the portrait-format multimedia display.
Engines from 90 to 205hp, with outstanding efficiency
The new Mégane will be available with six highly-efficient engines from launch – three ENERGY dCi diesels delivering 90, 110 or 130hp, and three TCe petrol units with outputs of 100, 130 or 205hp. The EDC dual-clutch automatic transmission will be offered with the dCi 110 (six-speed) and the TCe 130 (seven-speed) engines. The seven-speed EDC is standard with the TCe 205 unit in the GT.
The core of the range will be the ENERGY dCi 110 diesel engine with a six-speed manual gearbox. This version of the new Mégane emits just 86g of CO2 per kilometre and has NEDC combined fuel consumption of 85.6mpg, meaning it is ECO2-listed. Since June 2015 Renault has been using the ECO2 label to highlight the most economical engine in each model range.
In 2016 the diesel ENERGY dCi 165 engine, linked to six-speed EDC dual clutch automatic transmission, will also become available in the GT.
A 'Hybrid Assist' diesel will be added early in 2017. With a targeted NEDC cycle figure below 3 litres/100km (94.1mpg) and CO2 emissions of 76g/km, subject to confirmation, this will position the new Mégane as the market leader for low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. It achieves this by capturing energy under deceleration and braking, and then boosting acceleration under certain conditions, especially at low engine speeds, to combine driving pleasure with extreme economy.
The new Mégane GT - inspired by Renaultsport
The flagship of the new Mégane range at launch will be the Renaultsport-inspired GT, featuring unique exterior and interior embellishments, a 205hp TCe engine mated to a seven-speed EDC dual-clutch transmission, segment-first 4Control four-wheel steering and bespoke chassis settings.
The design of the GT's front bumper signals the step-up in sportiness that goes hand-in-hand with the Renaultsport DNA. It is complemented by a special design for the upper and lower grilles.
The lower air intake is wider and flanked by air scoops, while a Dark Metal finish – in particular for the door mirror housings – confirms that the car is a true Renault. The optional 18-inch diamond-effect, GT-badged wheels were specially developed by Renaultsport. At the rear, two chrome-plated exhaust tailpipes echo the style of the twin air scoops at the front to provide a sense of symmetry. The tailpipes flank a diffuser that takes its inspiration from Formula One. The new Mégane GT carries Renaultsport badging on the left-hand rear, as well as on both front wings.
The interior is Renaultsport through and through. The wrap-around seats with integral headrests, blue top stitching and a chequered sports logo are comfortable while providing firm lateral support. Three different upholstery choices are available: fabric, Alcantara leather with blue stripes and Alcantara leather with black stripes. There is a bespoke steering wheel, sports pedals in aluminium, a special gear lever and steering-wheel mounted gearshift paddles.
The information delivered by the instrument pack and display screen is enhanced, too, most notably with the addition of a Race mode. Hints of blue within the cabin pick up on the new Iron Blue exterior colour to reinforce the GT's unique identity.
The new Mégane GT is the first vehicle in its segment to feature four-wheel-steer 4Control technology, specially calibrated by engineers from Renaultsport. The 4Control chassis is a Renault innovation that ensures precise alignment of the rear wheels, providing exceptional driving enjoyment and sporting responsiveness with safety.
4Control ensures precise, dynamic handling on twisty roads with total stability at higher speeds. In emergencies, the four-wheel steering provides reassuring, lightning-fast responses. The car becomes smoother, more precise and more relaxing to drive, without dulling enjoyment. The system also improves manoeuvrability at slower speeds or when parking.
Rounding up the GT's chassis package are recalibrated dampers, springs, ESC and brakes with no loss of comfort and versatility.
Meanwhile, the GT employs new technologies specially developed by Renaultsport, including Multi Change Down, which enables rapid downshifting, and Launch Control for super-swift getaways from a standing start.
"At Renaultsport we poured all our know-how into ensuring the new Mégane GT would be both comfortable and a joy to drive," says Patrice RATTI, Managing Director, Renault Sport Technologies. "The 4Control four-wheel steering system combines with a suspension specially tuned by Renaultsport engineers to deliver a unique experience on all types of road. With its 205hp engine, seven-speed EDC gearbox operated via steering wheel-mounted shift paddles, unique exterior styling and its sports-focused interior, the new Mégane GT is the perfect solution for buyers looking for performance, excitement and enjoyment at the wheel!"