A cute accent

A Renault Mégane Coupé came to stay for a brief few days at the end of last month – handy while my Saab was having its wheel arch put back to a regular Saab shape.  The Mégane was simply pressed into service, time not permitting exciting jaunts along empty, sweeping A-roads but it certainly proved both very competent and – important for the commute – comfortable.

Jumping from a Grand Scénic straight into the Mégane Coupé probably did it some favours, too.  I didn’t have to think about the switch gear, and while the 7-seat Renault handles and rides well – for a bus – the Mégane reached the parts people carriers just can’t touch.

The Coupé variant, while less convenient in many respects than the standard Mégane models (and slightly costlier) is more visually striking and has a much improved driver experience.  Using the 1.9 dCi diesel engine, it manages a humble 130PS but very healthy 300Nm torque.  This puts the 0-62mph time at 9.5 seconds – again, still modest on paper yet the torque makes this a very flexible engine.  It is also quiet and well damped, meaning the occupants experience very little diesel chatter, even from a cold engine.

Poorly lit and angled away from the driver

Sitting in the supportive sports seat, the driving position is excellent.  The view through the windscreen is good too but drop your gaze to the binnacle and dials and it’s a sombre affair.  In only the gloomiest lighting do the instruments become back-lit, leaving them dull much of the time.  The speedo has numerics only every 20mph and the dials are angled away from the driver meaning there is a parallax error when checking the speed (one should always look at right angles to instruments for the most accurate reading).

On the move, the steering seems to become more direct; in combination with the strong engine, the result is a very nimble-feeling drive.  In fact, the Coupé managed that difficult balance of being engaging when desired but not enough to be wearing when it’s bumper-to-bumper and you’d just like to be home opening a bottle of wine.

Mégane Coupé not on my commute

The Mégane Coupé has been out for a while now so Renault has introduced the GT Line specification to freshen the range.  It brings with it a good level of equipment including 17” alloys, climate control, electric mirrors, rear parking sensors and a few ‘GT Line’ badges.

Externally, the Coupé is a little different from its rivals.  While it’s in the same segment as the pricier VW Scirocco, it manages to look funkier – certainly less of a squashed frog than the VW.   The swept C pillars lend the Renault a purposeful, cab-forward shape.  While this limits rear visibility, it looks smart.  And visual attraction is half the reason why people buy a coupé over a more sensible hatch or saloon.  The second reason is of course the driving dynamics.  The Mégane Coupé delivers on both promises.

Renault Mégane Coupé GT Line Tom Tom dCi 130 from £21,360.  Basic petrol model available from £16,815.

Power: 130PS @ 4,000 rpm, emissions: 135 CO2 g/km, torque: 300Nm @ 1,750 rpm, 0-62 mph: 9.5s

Motor Writer rating: ●●●●○

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