Renault Megane RS 5-door (2004)

Renault Megane RS 5-door

The Renault Mégane is a small family car produced by the French automaker Renault since 1995. It is offered in 3- and 5-door hatchback, sedan, coupé, convertible and station wagon bodystyles. The Renault Scénic is the first modern compact MPV, and is based on the Mégane.

Mégane I (1995-2002)

The Mégane I was unveiled in the autumn of 1995, as a replacement of the Renault 19. The car was essentially a reskin of its predecessor, and carried over the 19's floorpan, engines, transmissions and chassis design, albeit with much modification. 1997 saw the introduction of the Mégane Scénic compact MPV. Taking its name from a Renault concept car shown in 1988, the Mégane further developed the new corporate styling theme introduced by Patrick Le Quément on the Laguna, most notably the "bird-beak" front grille - a styling cue borrowed from the legendary Renault 16 of the 1960s. As with the 19 and the 11 before it, the Mégane was produced in Renault's Douai plant in northern France, and in the spanish plant of Palencia.

Power came from the Renault E-type ("Energy") engine in 1.4 L, 1.6 L, 1.8 L, and the F-type unit in both 1.9 L diesel and 2.0 L petrol form, although this time around there was a wider variety of 16-valve derivatives. A 1.9 L diesel engine in both normally aspirated and turbocharged forms was also available.

A mild facelift in 1999 gave the Mégane I a modified grille, more advanced safety features and upgraded equipment, and the 16-valve engines were used across the range.

Mégane II (2002)

The Mégane II was launched in 2002, and marked a completely fresh start. The two cars bear very little resemblance, the new vehicle having been inspired by the manufacturer's new style first seen in the Avantime. The enormous success of the Mégane across Europe proved that Renault's new bold styling was a winning formula and the subsequent failure of the Avantime to sell in great numbers can be attributed to its unusual market placement rather than its styling. The new Mégane was voted European Car Of The Year in 2003, and achieved a 5-star safety rating in the EuroNCAP crash tests, the first car in its class to do so.

Mégane II and the Laguna were both showcases for a great deal of innovative technologies Renault launched around 2001-2002; the Renault Card keyless ignition system, standard on the Mégane II, was a first in this class and has since been widely adopted. Similarly, the option of a panoramic glass sunroof is another area in which Renault led where others followed.

RenaultSport (RS) versions of the 3-door and 5-door hatchbacks were introduced, equipped with a turbocharged petrol 2.0 L 16v engine producing 225 hp. Along with the engine, changes were made to the front and rear suspension geometry to improve handling, and the model features a deeper, wider front bumper. The Mégane Renault Sport competes in the hot hatch segment of the market.

As with the previous Mégane, the range of models is extremely wide; there is a three and five door hatchback available, named "Sport Hatch" and "Hatch" respectively, there is a 4-door saloon/sedan (Sport Saloon), a five-door estate (Sport Tourer / Grandtour), and to replace both the Mégane Coupe and Convertible, a new retractable hardtop Mégane Coupe-Convertible (shown above). In place of the old Mégane Scenic arrives a new Scénic available in short- and long-wheelbase models, the latter offering seven seats for extra versatility.

The coupé-convertible features an innovative folding glass roof mechanism built by Karmann.

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