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New 2009 Renault Megane - (Global) - Continued.....

September 10th, 2008
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CHAPTER 3
A rewarding driving experience

Exemplary handling: reassuring, responsive and precise
The response, dynamic performance and driving pleasure delivered by New Renault Mégane live up every bit to the promise suggested by its looks.

Significant engineering effort went into all the elements that make up the chassis at a very early stage in the project. The MacPherson-type front suspension is coupled with a new horned subframe, a configuration which minimises lateral displacement of the subframe to provide impeccable directional precision. At the same time, New Mégane's new power steering system offers even swifter response to driver input and helps counter the phenomenon of steering wheel inertia. The rear suspension is based on a programmed flexible beam using a closed section beam that combines stiffer torsional performance and light weight. The sum of these features has produced a more responsive, agile ride, as well as improved cornering without detracting from comfort.

In addition to the dynamic qualities of its chassis, New Mégane can claim class-leading stopping power thanks to its generously dimensioned brakes. The combination of vented 296mm-diameter discs at the front and 260mm-diameter rear discs slows New Mégane to a standstill after repeated braking from 62 mph in just 37 metres, one of the segment's best braking distances.

New Mégane also ensures precise, responsive and reassuring roadholding, while its positive, predictable handling performance is suited to dynamic driving styles.

Respect for the environment and performance: the hallmarks of the dCi and TCe engine ranges

A significantly renewed range of dCi and TCe (Turbo Control efficiency) powerplants that combine fuel efficiency and driving pleasure will be available for New Mégane from launch. These engines are capable of delivering torque and power from low revs across a broad rev band whatever the demands made on them. New Renault Mégane has profited from this expertise to feature a comprehensive line-up of engines and transmissions whose technical characteristics bring out the best in the new car's dynamic potential.

The dCi range
The dCi 85 and dCi 105 engines, which have been widely praised for the performance and driving pleasure they deliver, have been joined (depending on country) by the dCi 90 and the particulate filter-equipped dCi 110. Every one of these engines emits less than 120g of CO2/km, while the new dCi 130 profits from the dCi range's most advanced technology in terms of combustion and turbocharging to return CO2 emissions of just 135g/km. Peak power (130hp) arrives sooner too (at 3,750rpm instead of 4,000rpm), and maximum torque (300Nm) is available from 1,750rpm instead of 2,000rpm. The engine line-up will shortly be extended to include the dCi 160 coupled with a manual gearbox and the dCi 150 mated to automatic transmission.

The petrol range
Depending on market, the petrol range will comprise the 1.6 16V 100hp and 110hp engines, as well as the 2.0 16V 140hp and the TCe 180. The 2.0 16V 140 will be available from launch with a six-speed manual gearbox, while continuously variable transmission will be introduced with this powerplant at a later date. Renault's latest petrol engine, the TCe 130 will be added to the catalogue in the spring of 2009. Developed within the framework of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, the latter is a perfect illustration of the expertise that has been acquired in the realm of downsizing. This new, fuel-efficient 1,397cc block packs the power of a 1.8-litre engine (130hp) and the torque of a 2.0 (190Nm), yet its CO2 emissions are less than those of a 1.6, making it particularly respectful of the environment. Depending on version, these engines can be mated to five- or six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

The New Mégane range will include biofuel-compatible engines (bioethanol and biodiesel) depending on country.

Despite being bigger and roomier, New Mégane is an average 8kg lighter than its predecessor. The combination of lower weight and optimised aerodynamics has led to exceptionally low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, but not to the detriment of either driving pleasure or performance.

New Mégane is one of the most socially responsible cars in its class. Almost 70 per cent of all sales will concern models that meet the three criteria required to qualify for the Renault eco² signature, namely:

    * CO2 emissions less than 140g/km or biofuel-compatible,
    * Manufactured in an ISO 14001-certified factory,
    * 95 per cent end-of-life recoverable, and at least five per cent of the plastics the car contains must be sourced from recycling.

New Renault Mégane targets safety excellence
Like its predecessor, New Mégane has been designed to deliver best-in-class performance. Renault has naturally profited from its own engineering expertise and from the latest research carried out by LAB (1) to develop a full range of safety equipment designed to perform in real-life driving situations. New Mégane benefits from Renault's extensive knowledge in the realm of safety and has been developed to be exemplary in this field.

In terms of active safety, New Mégane, like the rest of the Renault range, features a long list of equipment aimed at helping drivers anticipate risk situations. This equipment includes visual seatbelt reminder warnings for all five seats, a tyre pressure monitoring system and bi-xenon headlamps incorporating dipped beam cornering lights, as well as automatic activation of the headlamps, windscreen wipers and cruise control/speed limiter.

To optimise the driver's response to difficult or emergency situations, New Mégane is also equipped with ABS, EBD and Emergency Brake Assist as standard. Depending on version, ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) and CSV understeer control are also available.

On the passive safety front, the programmed deformation of New Mégane's structure has been engineered to absorb impact energy with a view to protecting the cabin and therefore occupants. The materials employed – including high, very high and very, very high elastic limit steels – have been selected to absorb and dissipate as much kinetic energy as possible. Controlled deformation ensures that occupants are subjected to lower deceleration forces and this, coupled with the third-generation Renault System for Restraint and Protection (SRP3), guarantees an extremely high level of protection.

The Renault System for Restraint and Protection is unique on the market and takes into account both impact force and the build of occupants. It comprises double pretensioners (which limit forward movement of the body under impact by holding the straps firmly across the thorax and lap), a load limiter (which reduces the pressure applied by the belt on the thorax) and dual-chamber adaptive airbags (which deploy just the right amount of pressure to round off the dampening of the impact). The system also offers optimum protection against submarining, a phenomenon which involves the groin sliding underneath the seatbelt's lap strap and which can lead to serious abdominal lesions in a collision. The fastening of seatbelts is facilitated by the higher position of the stalks which offers easier access.

Impact from the side is a leading cause of fatal injuries since the flanks of a car traditionally offer less protection. However, specific work into this area has produced positive breakthroughs. Indeed, New Mégane inherits third generation twin thorax/pelvis airbags with different pressures and a double impact sensor in the doors. The latter adapts the load exerted on the body by delivering three times more pressure to the groin area which is more exposed compared with the thorax.

Meanwhile, the fixation rods of the new generation headrests slide within the headrest and no longer within the upper part of the seatback and ensure enhanced protection of the cervical vertebrae in case of impact from the rear. Since the rods no longer form a rigid element in the seatback, the occupant's back can sink into the seatback until their head comes into contact with the headrest, resulting in less movement of the head and thorax.

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