Renault Megane Coupe 2.0 TCE 180
Can the new coupe match the hatch?
If you crave a harcore hot hatch then wait for the Renaultsport version – expected next year – or get yourself an R26 verion of the outgoing model, but for most people the coupe offers plenty of usable performance without compromising on space or comfort. A great warm hatch.
The Renault Megane has taken a turn for the sporty. In line with the launch of the new Megane range, Renault has given its mid-sized hatch a slick makeover.
Space and economy might be the order of the day for the hatch, but the French manufacturer has let its hair down for the coupe. Renault has heavily distinguished it from the hatch with a raked roof line, aluminium-look grille surrounds, neater rear lamps and a handsome set of spidery five-spoke alloys among other changes. There’s even a customization kit available for those who want to stand out from the crowd!
Inside, the coupe gets Renault’s staple swooping dash, with lashings of black leather, which, combined with the Cayenne Orange paintwork, makes for a handsome combination.
It’s not short on room either. For a coupe, the Megane is generous on interior space, and its boot can even swallow a commendable 344 litres of luggage. The only criticism is a lack of rear headroom due to the angular roof.
But it’s not just cosmetic, as the coupe also benefits form a series of performance-orientated changes under the skin. Aside from the powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol powerplant, the coupe rides 12mm lower than the hatch and is 10 per cent stiffer at the rear and 19 per cent stiffer at the front, which makes for tight handling and a sporty ride.
The electronic power steering makes for a light and easy turn in, but there isn’t as much feedback as you might expect for a French hot hatch. The tall alloys and 225/45 low-profile tyres mean that there is more weight to the steering than the hatch, though.
Despite the lofty wheels and low ride height, the Megane doesn’t suffer from a juddery ride. Renault has found just the right balance between sportiness and refinement.
Point the Megane at the horizon and it belts forward with gusto. The 2.0-litre TCe turbo engine that we tested has 300NM of torque and 178bhp – generous enough for a nippy hatch, though it’s not as raucous as anything boasting a Renaultsport badge (expect that next year). If economy is paramount, then there’s always the option of a more sedate 1.6-litre petrol or three dCi diesel engines.
The coupe presses the right buttons – it’s fun to drive, practical but soft enough to use everyday. It’s unlikely to go down in history a great performance car, but strikes a superb balance between practicality and exploitable performance.