Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet Ranked Safest In Class | Part Two

Reinforced body structure

Owing to its coupé-cabriolet bodywork, this member of the Megane II family features a number of additional protection systems to provide top-class protection for vehicle occupants under frontal impact, lateral impact and rollover conditions. The body structure is specially reinforced at several locations. The body sides are linked by two partitions (lower and upper) behind the rear seats, with the lower partition structurally bonded to the floor. Unlike Megane Hatch, Megane Coupé-Cabriolet has its body sides in three distinct parts, with special reinforcement for the most vulnerable sections. The side sill plays an instrumental role in controlling longitudinal flexion and improving body stiffness.

The front pillar assembly is specially reinforced and stiffened to protect passengers under rollover conditions. Reinforcement takes the form of a 35 mm diameter tube in 6 mm thick VHEL steel, integrated in the front pillar, along with a special thick brace. These additional parts are assembled together with the front pillar and the lower front pillar reinforcer. This arrangement ensures unaltered performance as regards intrusion under frontal impact.

Engine compartment layout is designed for safe stack-up under impact, to prevent intrusion of engine compartment parts into the passenger compartment. The steering wheel frame is collapsible and the steering column retractable. The brake pedal is also retractable to minimise the risk of lower-limb injury, and special foot paddings for passenger and driver seats provide tibia and ankle protection. The dashboard is specially profiled to the shape of the tibia and designed to distribute load under impact. Side impact loads are absorbed by extensive padding, such as that in the door panels.

continues... | Part Three
Published 25 June 2004 Melanie Carter

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