Click above for a hi-res gallery of the Renault Megane III

As its expansive name might suggest, the Megane is a hugely important car for Renault, competing in the same highly competitive segment as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. But while the rest of Renault's range – including the Clio, Twingo and Laguna – has seen recent replacement, the second-generation Megane has carried on essentially unchanged for six years. The Megane won't have to wait any longer as Renault has properly released photos and details of its new mid-range vehicle, anticipated for unveiling at next month's Paris Motor Show.

The new Megane's styling takes cues from the concept unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show this past March, but seems to share more in common with the larger Laguna sedan. The Megane also promises to deliver significant improvements in terms of quality and equipment levels over the model it replaces. A new analogue/digital instrument cluster is incorporated, along with an intuitive color-coded cruise control module, hands-free entry and ignition and Bluetooth DVD sat-nav system. Powertrain options range from 100-hp to 180-hp gasoline engines and diesel choices ranging from 85 to 150 hp, all of which are mated to a range of five- and six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

Renault says no fewer than six different versions of the Megane will hit the market by 2010, each developed as its own model to give each its own individual identity. We'll venture a guess at a three-door hatch, five-door hatch, four-door sedan and wagon. A hard-top convertible would also be a safe bet. But what enthusiasts want is the Renaultsport version, as the French automaker has long commanded attention in the hot hatch realm.

We'll be on hand to check out the first version in Paris, but in the meantime you can check out the gallery of high-resolution images in the gallery below and the press release and video after the jump.


[Source: Renault]


PRESS RELEASE

NEW RENAULT MÉGANE
ALLURING, INTUITIVE AND REASSURING

New Renault Mégane's lines are the product of a desire to produce an immediately eyecatching car. Its dynamic, elegant styling takes its inspiration from the passion associated with the automobile, including cues from the world of sport. New Renault Mégane is robust, too, with the accent very much on the fit and finish of its panels, as well as on that of the materials it employs. The new model has also benefited from the progress that has been achieved across the Renault range on both the reliability and durability fronts.

New Renault Mégane's interior is extensively equipped with practical, comfort-enhancing features. These include combined analogue/digital instruments incorporating a new, easier to read colour-coded cruise control/speed limiter interface. The list continues with a host of equipment normally associated with the next segment up, such as hands-free entry and ignition, automatic locking as the driver walks away from the car, a Carminat Bluetooth® DVD navigation system and a custom-developed audio system (3D Sound by Arkamys®).

New Renault Mégane's on-road performance lives up every bit to the high standard promised by its looks, with precision, control and efficiency combining to deliver a particularly enjoyable and reassuring ride. A broad, extensively renewed range of dCi and TCe powerplants combining performance and respect for the environment is available, with four diesel engines that can claim CO2 emissions equal to, or less than, 120g/km.

New Renault Mégane has been designed to offer best-in-class safety performance, too. Features include double side impact sensors and dual-chamber airbags as seen on Laguna III and aimed at minimizing the consequences of a side-on collision.

It is also a socially responsible vehicle which is 95 per cent end-of-life recoverable by weight, while almost 12 per cent of the plastics it contains are sourced from recycling, equivalent to an average of 22kg per car.

New Renault Mégane marks the beginning of Renault's renewal of its C-segment line-up. With market share of more than a third, this segment has long been the biggest in Western Europe and makes a significant contribution to Renault's performance in terms of both volume and profitability.

By 2010, the New Mégane family will include six different models, each of which will have its own distinct and assertive personality. These six models have been conceived essentially for customers in European markets and will be manufactured in Palencia (Spain) and Douai (France). Other models will be available in non-European markets equipped with specific technical solutions suited to local conditions of use.

For almost two years, Renault's design and engineering teams focused their attention on three main areas of development, namely reinforcing the personality of each member of the Mégane line-up, ensuring a balanced offer in terms of performance and equipment, and targeting best-in-class positioning for all of its key features.

New Renault Mégane, which goes on sale from November 2008, comes after the 15th car of the Renault Commitment 2009 plan and consequently benefits fully from the progress achieved in terms of quality on preceding models.


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