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Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet 1.4 Dynamique TomTom TCe 130

Click to view picture gallery“One of Renaults most stylish
  ranges is their Megane Coupe-
  Cabriolet:
it has two doors,
  a very smart folding glass roof
  with two seats in the front and
  two in the back — but 2 + 2 still
  doesn
t quite equal 4...”


PRICES START AT 20,340 and top-out at 24,825 and buyers can choose from two spec levels: Dynamique TomTom and GT Line TomTom. As you might guess, both have TomTom navigation as standard not as separate stick-on appliances but as fully integrated systems.

Powerplants are well represented too, with four petrol and three diesel powertrains spanning 1.4- to 2.0-litres (109 to 177bhp). Convertible and coupe-cabriolet owners tend to favour automatic transmissions and the Megane doesn't disappoint the 2.0-litre petrol engine can be specified with a CVT continuously variable type while an Electronic Dual Clutch transmission is available on the 1.5 dCi 110 diesel. The automatic models both come in Dynamic TomTom spec with the 1.5 turbodiesel EDC priced at 23,495; 22,660 buys you a 2.0-litre CVT petrol version.

“The Megane CC’s
folding tinted glass roof
is not only very stylish,
but it
s also very strong.
But there
s a downside,
as I found out when
yet another shower
dampened my
enthusiasm for open-to-
the-skies motoring —
it can
t be opened or
closed on the move
...”
We've just driven the main selling 1.4 TCe 130 four-cylinder petrol version with a manual gearbox that in Dynamic TomTom spec costs 21,260. Given the current shortage of customers, Renault dealers will give most potential buyers an attractive reason to buy so look for at least 2,000 off.

The Megane CC's folding tinted glass roof is not only very stylish, but it's also very strong. But there's a downside, as I found out when yet another shower dampened my enthusiasm for open-to-the-skies motoring it can't be opened or closed on the move.

However, I'm not convinced that canvas roof models (except the very top well-insulated executive cars) are all that cosy in deep midwinter when the weather is rain, ice or snow. And security is always compromised with a fabric roof.

With a length of 4.4 metres, this latest Megane CC is longer than its predecessor by 130mm and an extra 87mm has been added to its wheelbase (now 2,609mm). Yet it's still not very roomy and there's not much legroom in the rear sculptured seats so in reality, at least for adults, it remains a 2+2.

The side profile is undeniably sleek and looks well balanced despite the unavoidable larger tail section that houses the folded roof. There's a sweeping feature line across the bonnet a characteristic of the new Megane family at the front while bringing up the rear is a new sculpted bootlid incorporating the upper section of the revised LED tail lamps that give the CC a distinctive and instantly recognisable light pattern.

The CC's stand-out feature is the panoramic folding glass roof. Introduced with the original Coupe-Cabriolet, it's proved to be a very popular feature owners appreciate both the light that floods the cabin and the improved all-round visibility. It's now also the largest folding glass roof in the segment, having been increased in size by ten percent. And it looks good the dark-tinted glass, gloss black pillars and satin-finish chrome windscreen surround ensures a high quality appearance.

Designed and built by specialist manufacturer Karmann and supplied to Renault ready for installation, the roof module consists of two panels that fold into a 'V' as the roof slides away into the boot. Opening or closing calls for nothing more than simply pressing and holding down a button on the console for 21 seconds Renault claims it's one of the quickest in its class. For the complete top-down experience, a second press on the roof button (or a single touch on the 'Grand Air' switch on the driver's door) lowers all four windows at the same time.

Dropping the roof
results in some ‘scuttle

shake over poorer
road surfaces although
it
s much improved
over the previous
generation CC thanks to
the new model being
torsionally stiffer...”
The windscreen header rail of the latest CC has, thankfully, been moved forward by 60mm this not only gives the cabin a more open feel but, more importantly, makes for easier access to the front seats.

A glass wind deflector positioned between the two rear headrests cuts wind noise and turbulence at speeds up to 56mph with four people on board, and is another unique feature in this segment.

For even less topless wind intrusion, when only two are travelling in front, there's an optional (155) mesh screen that clips in place over the rear seats.

Consequently it's possible to hold conversations with passengers on the move, even at motorway speeds with the top down when wind buffeting in the car remains very low. With the roof folded there are 211 litres of wide-but-not-very-high luggage space in an area that when the roof is raised offers twice that: 417 litres. Soft luggage is recommended it's easier to stow than hard bags or suitcases.

Dropping the roof results in some 'scuttle' shake over poorer road surfaces although it's much improved over the previous generation CC thanks to the new model being torsionally stiffer. The only real downside is that the top has to be raised and lowered while the car is stationary and for me that meant a potentially dangerous stop on the hard-shoulder of the motorway to put the roof up when a heavy shower happened along. Inconvenient yes, but it didn't weaken my enthusiasm and general liking of this Megane CC.

However, it will need more than just my single vote because the competition is tough: the new VW Golf Convertible, Audi TT Roadster, BMW 1 Series Convertible, MINI Convertible, Peugeot 207/308 CCs and the VW Eos. There are more smaller, larger, cheaper and more expensive but the Megane Coupe-Cabriolet is still a good and sensible option.

While much of this review has been about the folding roof the major trigger to buy the two-door Coupe-Cabriolet over the five-door Megane Hatch or three-door Coupe versions the specification and the new 1.4-litre petrol engine deserve mention.

The specification starts well, with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating particularly important when driving a car with a folding roof and continues in that vein with a wealth of airbags and electronic handling and braking functions.

“Combined with a six-
speed manual
box,
the 1.4-litre TCe petrol
unit is very flexible
because of its turbo-
boosted torque and good
low- to mid-range
responses
...”
In addition to the folding glass roof, the Dynamic TomTom spec test model has, as standard, air conditioning, remote central locking, information computer, cruise control, power windows and mirrors, integrated TomTom navigation, Bluetooth and hands-free keycard, radio/stereo, push-button start, automatic headlights and wipers, front fog lights, wind deflector and 17-inch alloys.

The small capacity (1.4-litre) petrol engine is one of a new generation from the Renault-Nissan Alliance and uses a low inertia turbocharger, sophisticated valve operation and fuel injection to make it as powerful as a 1.8-litre unit with as much torque as you'd get from a 2.0-litre. The 1.4 TCe 130 unit in my test car pumped out 129bhp with 140lb ft of torque from an impressively-low 1,250rpm.

The maximum speed is 124mph and it takes 10.7 seconds to get from zero to 62mph. Officially it returns 38.7mpg in the Combined Cycle my test driving, in a manner I like to think was representative of considerate and safe but not slow drivers, returned 31.4mpg over a variety of roads and most types of driving conditions.

CO2 emissions are 169g/km so the first year road tax is 265 but then 190 each year after that. Company car users will pay 23% Benefit-in-Kind tax and higher mileage users might seriously think about shelling out an extra 2,300 to buy the 109bhp 1.5-litre dci turbodiesel with the same specification because road tax is then 0 for the first year and just 95 per annum thereafter with a 19% BIK tax.

Combined with a six-speed manual gearbox, the 1.4-litre TCe petrol unit is very flexible because of its turbo-boosted torque and good low- to midrange responses. While the performance is more than adequate, the tax implications and running costs do need to be considered. On the other hand, Renault's well priced 219 three years/30,000 miles fixed servicing costs can certainly offset the taxes.

Against? It's cramped in the rear, there's some body shake with the roof down and being a weighty car means relatively high CO2 emissions which in turn mean hefty road tax costs. On the other hand, it's stylish, has a glass retracting roof, is well equipped, has a nice to drive engine and transmission, comfortable suspension and composed handling. David Miles

Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet 1.4 Dynamique TomTom TCe 130 | 21,260
Maximum speed: 124mph | 0-62mph: 10.7 seconds | Overall Test MPG: 31.4mpg
Power: 129bhp | Torque: 140lb ft | CO2 169g/km