New Renault Megane II Brings Brave New Shape To M1 Sector

Renault Megane II
Renault has unveiled the first two cars from the New Mégane II family which will eventually offer seven models by 2004 in a complete renewal of its product line-up in the C segment, the biggest in the European automobile market.

The first two New Méganes to be unveiled are the Sport Hatch and Hatch – three and five-door – models, bringing individuality to the lower-medium class. The car can be summed up in three words: compact, expressive, and dynamic. Its distinctive design gives it plenty of character, while it is a pleasure to drive, a fact suggested by it propulsive styling. It is designed to offer optimum safety to every passenger, offer innovative comfort features and an intelligent approach to travelling pleasure, already available on higher-segment Renault models. Reliability, quality and durability are class leading and environmental factors have been taken into account from the design right up to the end of the life cycle of the vehicle.

Built on the new C platform — jointly developed by the Renault-Nissan Alliance - which will account for 25% of all Alliance production by 2006 (1.8 million vehicles) - Mégane II constitutes a major commercial, financial and industrial challenge underpinning Renault's profitable growth strategy.

Mégane II was devised right from the start as an international programme and will be distributed in 75 countries. In Europe, Renault has its sights set on 14% of the C segment, challenging for the title of Europe’s best-selling car.

The distinctive design of Mégane II

Mégane II lends its powerful, expressive design to a three-door Sport Hatch and a five-door Hatch, both of which share the same assertive character. Reminiscent of the innovative design of Avantime and Vel Satis, New Mégane stands out as a distinctive product in a segment of mainly look-alike cars. It appeals to the emotions without sacrificing functionality and practicality. It is an energetic-looking car that makes no secret of its sporty personality, particularly in terms of the cockpit, while actively promoting driving pleasure.

New Mégane’s robust design is rounded out by an attention to detail that is evident in the trim quality, fit and finish and flush body panels. The interior is a lesson in modernity, moderation and ergonomics. It is the first volume-produced car to feature Touch Design – first showcased in the Talisman concept car of 2001 - illustrating the care and attention that has gone into its design. The car is governed by the concept of ‘ease of use’, which determined each decision during the development phase. Controls, switches and levers are designed to fit naturally into the shape of the hand.

Mégane II offers customers unique freedom of choice through almost limitless combinations of colour and trim, engines and equipment.

Mégane II is agile and sure-footed in dynamic mode

Based on a completely new platform, New Mégane II has new front and rear suspension systems, combining precision with highly effective isolation of noise and vibration. For complete driving control in all circumstances, the road-going behaviour of Mégane II is superior in terms of both roadholding and braking. In addition to ABS, Emergency Brake Assist and the tyre pressure monitoring system, Mégane II is the first model to use a new-generation electronic stability programme (ESP) incorporating understeer control (CSV). In addition xenon headlamp units feature an all-new adaptive beam height control.

Variable assisted electric power steering heightens driving precision with characteristics tailored to every need. Cockpit-style ergonomics have been developed using Touch Design to make the driver feel more part of the car, such as the handbrake lever styled like a aircraft throttle lever.

At launch, Mégane II will be offered with a wide range of frugal, yet powerful petrol and diesel engines together with new-generation transmissions. The petrol engine range at launch comprises three units: 98bhp 1.4 16V, 115bhp 1.6 16V VVT and 136bhp 2.0 16V VVT. The latter two engines are equipped with variable inlet valve timing (VVT) for the benefit of ease of driving and a reduction in fuel consumption. All these petrol engines comply with the Euro 3 (Euro 2000) emission requirements and also meet IF Euro 4 fiscal incentive standards, depending on market.

The Mégane II diesel range will initially consist of the 1.5 dCi 80 (120g of CO2/km) and 1.9 dCi 120 common-rail turbodiesel units featuring the latest technology. The manual and automatic transmissions in Mégane II have been developed to unlock all the potential of the engines. A key factor in driving pleasure and travelling comfort, the acoustic treatment of Mégane II has been the focus of numerous studies and innovative features.

New Mégane II seeks excellence in safety

Mégane II's design follows on from that of its predecessor — best in class in its segment — and of Laguna II, the first car with a five-star rating in the Euro-NCAP crash tests. The reinforced structure of Mégane II, coupled with energy absorption and programmed crumple zones, guarantee optimum deformation in impacts.

Mégane II offers a host of occupant-protection features with the third-generation Renault System for Restraint and Protection (SRP3), designed to offer maximum protection to all occupants equally. The Mégane II Sport Hatch achieves a world first by incorporating Renault's latest safety advance, an anti-submarining airbag in the front seats.

An intelligent approach to travelling pleasure with comfort features to match those of a higher segment

Mégane II combines Renault's know-how in the area of comfort with an intelligent approach to travelling pleasure. It features innovative layout features, including a panoramic sunroof and a double floor.

Mégane II also majors on simplicity, with a new Renault card providing hands-free entry and ignition, as well as ease of use, such as the fuel filler cap having a built-in cap. Equipped with all the innovations seen in higher segment cars, Mégane II is available with all the latest technology: a Carminat navigation system and cruise control with speed limiter. Sensors to control windscreen wipers and headlights enhance occupant peace of mind and driving comfort.

Mégane II design centres on quality and respect for the environment

Designed with concern for the smallest detail, Mégane II offers optimum quality with a high level of reliability and durability, helping to achieve lower operating costs and maintain residual value. Many advances, such as electric and electronic reliability due to multiplexing, improved anti-theft protection and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty contribute to owner peace of mind.

Mégane II is the first Renault programme to take into account the requirements of Life-cycle Environmental Management (LEM), which in addition to work on the reduction of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, also sets out to optimise the recyclability of end-of-life vehicles (ELVs).

Mégane II was developed in just 29 months — Renault's best-ever development time. The engineering phase was significantly shortened and the production preparation phase halved. And no concessions were made on the different stages of approval. Renault achieved this high level of performance through a new managerial approach, involving the factories from the very start of the programme. Profitability was therefore given a considerable boost.

Renault invested a total of Euro 2.1 billion, with nearly half devoted to industrial investment in Palencia, Spain — readied to produce the hatchback and the Sport Hatch — as well as at the plant in Douai, France, which will manufacture the hatchback and the new Scénic at a later date. The third plant, in Bursa, Turkey, will produce the Mégane saloon.

Published : 02/07/02 Author : Melanie Carter

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