What is it?
The new Renault Megane Coupe – a return to this market segment after an absence of five years. Renault launched the first Megane Coupe in 1996, which became Britain’s best-selling entry-level coupe for five years running.
Otherwise all-new, the Renault Megane Coupe is largely based on the platform of the Megane 2, though it gets significant modifications, including a re-designed rear beam axle, a new, more rigidly located front subframe and new electric power steering set-up.
The Renault Megane Coupe test car was powered by a 178bhp 2.0-litre petrol turbo unit, fitted with a twin-scroll turbocharger and a continuously variable inlet camshaft and driving a six-speed manual box.
What’s it like?
There’s no doubt the Renault Megane Coupe is a fine-looking machine, combining visual drama, an impressive, wide-track stance and more than a hint of Germanic solidity. It sits 43mm lower than the hatch, including 12mm lower suspension.
Inside, the cabin is wide and the footwells are broad and uncluttered, the pedals excellently placed – in left-hand drive at least. Even the headroom was good, even though this car was fitted with the glass roof panel.
The dashboard design is restrained and it gets a raft of nicely finished and weighted Laguna switchgear and well-planned storage space. Perhaps the only wild thing about the interior of the Renault Megane Coupe is the prominent LCD speedo.
The rear of the cabin is snug, but not impossibly small for adults and the boot under the huge hatchback is very deep and looks entirely capable of taking luggage for four. However, the dramatically sloping rear and small side windows, mean the rear three-quarter view is very limited.
For all its fire-breathing exterior design, the Megane Coupe is a very civilized machine. The 178bhp engine is quiet and smooth at lower revs, with the torque building from just 1200rpm.
The clutch action is superb and the ‘box is clean shifting, even if the throw is a little long. At 70mph on the motorway, the Coupe is impressively smooth and quiet, with muscular overtaking power instantly on tap.