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Coupe cabriolet's folding glass roof is crowning glory.

Byline: Val Jessop

THERE'S no getting away from the fact that the new Renault Megane Coupe Cabriolet is a hefty looking model.

The designers don't appear to have been worried by the weight problem.

Their philosophy appears to be 'big is beautiful' and despite the bold, slabby sides the profile still looks very attractive.

The chubby, stubby rear couldn't be less cabriolet, but somehow this is mitigated by that gorgeous, curvy two part glass roof.

The smooth, wide nose is more in keeping with drop-head looks but even this appears to have been injected with steroids.

Nevertheless, the overall effect is of a handsome compact coupe cabriolet which balances looks with performance, price and economy rather than focusing on rapid sprints and slim-line contours.

The 1.9-litre turbodiesel Dynamique isn't going to give you an adrenaline rush at 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds, but that's not really the point of this model.

However, it will appeal to those who love open-top motoring with style, comfort and decent performance.

Add to that impressive build and quality fit, plus an upmarket interior with plush, soft-touch materials and the Megane CC is sitting pretty.

But the crowning glory is undoubtedly the two-piece, electrically operated glass roof.

The cabriolet looks just as good 'covered up' as when the roof is stored neatly away in the boot.

The good thing is that the extensive glass area is that you can still enjoy masses of light in a warm snug cabin.

It takes just over 20 seconds with a finger held on a button to raise and dispatch the roof into storage. The process is mesmerising and it takes the same time in reverse.

The 129bhp output ensures the diesel performs strongly and the unit is well matched to a slick six-speed manual gearbox. Steering is surprisingly light but feels well weighted when the coupe is opened up on the motorway and it felt reasonably composed when tackling corners at speed. The coupe rides well, absorbing rough surfaces with contempt. There were only a few occasions when it was caught off guard and became a little unsettled.

The four-seater cabriolet isn't the easiest car to park, manoeuvre and reverse with hefty flanks and a high waist line, not to mention the high tail, and the extending windscreen pillars do encroach on sideways vision.

The turbodiesel is relatively subdued and even under pressure it doesn't sound too vocal. The 1.9-litre unit reaches a top speed of 127mph and achieves a commendable average fuel return of 48.7mpg.

The standard Dynamique Tom Tom version here comes well equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, a CD stereo with auxiliary input, air-con, cruise control, hands-free key card, fully integrated Carminat TomTom satellite navigation system, automatic headlights and wipers and a fixed glass wind deflector.

Comfort, relaxed driving and lots of style will ensure the Megane is a top contender in the premium compact coupe cabriolet stakes.

But economy and keen pricing will play their part too.

The on-the-road price of pounds 23,095 includes ABS with ABD, ESP stability control with anti-skid regulation and CSV understeer control.

The test car cost a further pounds 1,400 for Bluetooth and multi-functional Tune Point, rear parking sensors, and metallic Pearl white paint.

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The Megane CC is a handsome compact coupe cabriolet which balances looks with performance, price and economy
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 8, 2010
Words:559
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