The Renault Megane became a cultural touchstone with its first-gen lines. All geometric choppiness plus an architectural, vogue set of curves? The body language of the car was a massive hit -- and became one of the best-selling models in recent Renault history. In its best years in the early 2000s, the Megane was often neck and neck with the VW Golf for UK sales.
A dance-pop ad campaign made the most of the Megane's funky trunk lines, all set to Groove Armada's "See You Baby, Shakin' That A**."
This author recalls the first time he saw one in the flesh. It was street-parked in Madrid in 2002 -- with only its tail profile showing. It was recognizable from 100-paces or more as a funky retort to the Golf and Focus of the day. At that time, it was the best-looking compact in Europe, if not as desirable as the much quicker Seat Leon Cupra of the day.
Rewatching the ad today, it is a holistic seat-of-the-pants campaign promoting how the Renault drives -- but with a healthy dose of sex appeal from shimmying tushes before the car even comes into view.
Since then, Renault has tried to catch lightning in a bottle with successive generations, but largely failed to recreate the original excitement.
The 2016 Megane is the best try since the original: all-new standard LEDs front and rear form distinctive light signatures at both ends. Organic bodywork is flowing but classy, with good proportions that are wider and lower, yet with a longer wheelbase and shorter overhangs. All good things. The infamous Pippa-lovely hind quarters? They are very fresh and pert. The bulging rear fenders flow cleanly into a bubble trunklid, vaguely recalling a muscular runner's glute and leg muscles.
The top model from launch will be the RenaultSport Megane GT with dark wheels, darkened nose and grille trims, and special aero tweaks for both bumpers.
2016 Renault Megane GT
2016 Renault Megane
- 20 years after the launch of Renault Mégane, which sold over 6.5 million units worldwide, Renault is updating its family car and has revealed New Mégane, the fourth car to carry that name.
- In a highly competitive segment, New Mégane stands out with its dynamic styling and distinctive lighting signature both at the front and at the rear.
- The latest Mégane range is topped by a GT version, which will be available from launch, and whose design is inspired by Renaultsport.
A distinctive, dynamic, meticulous design
With its distinctive lighting signature and balanced proportions, New Mégane is first and foremost a Renault. It adopts the brand's design DNA with broad, sculpted shoulders and a front face incorporating the brand's new design identity, including a large, vertical Renault diamond. As a relative of Renault Talisman, New Mégane boasts a specific lighting signature at the front with, C-shaped headlamps whose surround continues into the bumper. At the rear, the new lighting signature, visible by both day and night, goes right across the car to increase the perceived width of the vehicle. "On the highly competitive market of compact saloons, it was vital that New Mégane should stand out right from the first glance", says exterior designer Franck Le Gall.
At 25mm lower in front with track 47mm wider in front and 39mm wider at the rear compared to the third generation Mégane, New Mégane sits squarely on the road. Its proportions are those of a sporty silhouette with a wheelbase 28mm longer and a shorter overhang. Franck goes on: "The precise, taut lines, which draw the whole design towards the front, are part of the side surfaces." In combination with the sculpted shoulders, these lines give New Mégane dynamism and character."
Chromed elements emphasise the top of the belt line and enhance the grille, the side badges and door handles. The slim creases on the bonnet, combined with the chrome beading and side air scoops, strengthen the character of the front face.
An exclusive GT version, available from launch
New Mégane GT has a front bumper redesigned to express a more sporty personality. It incorporates a broader air intake and the new grill has a honeycomb design.
At the rear, the design of New Mégane GT is underscored by two chromed tailpipes that echo the air scoops further to the front and frame a spoiler inspired by the world of F1. New Mégane GT has "Renaultsport" badging at the rear, on the wings and at the front.
This sports version will be available with new "Iron Blue" paintwork, combined with "Dark Metal" touches at the front and on the body-coloured door mirrors to emphasise its affinity with the world of GT motoring.
New Mégane GT also has 18-inch aluminium wheels developed especially for the model by Renaultsport.
In Frankfurt, New Mégane will be fully revealed…
Don't miss the Frankfurt Motor Show to find out all about New Mégane, its interior design, the technologies that have been taken from the segment above, as well as the range of engines available.