New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

Keen pricing for funky drop-top Renaults

2004-11-23 09:59

John Oxley

There are three Megane CC models, ranging from an 83 kW 16-valve 1.6-litre through a 98.5 kW 2-litre petrol to a range-topping 1.9-litre common rail turbo-diesel - the latter the only diesel cabriolet on the market.

What's more every single model comes lavishly equipped, with leather upholstery, air conditioning, electric windows and mirrors, alloy wheels, and a leather-covered steering wheel, as well as an integrated sound system with satellite controls all as standard.

And the looks are sharp and stylish, with none of the "heavy bum" that afflicts other folding hardtop cabriolet, particularly Peugeot's CC twins, the 206 and the 207.

As mentioned, some 80% of the Megane CC's bodywork is exclusive to this model, while the glass roof, which folds electrically in a mere 22 seconds, is unique.

Only the front grille, headlamps and bonnet are carried over from the Megan sedan. The specially shaped front wings extend the body sides and emphasize the car's shapeliness, with the lack of door pillars or side trim strips further contributing to its elegant and flowing lines.

Boot space

Boot capacity is also unique. When the roof is down the Megan CC suffers the affliction of all folding hardtop cars - there's only 190 litres of boot space when the roof is folded, and access is through quite a narrow aperture.

However, that's more than enough for a long weekend's luggage for four - yes, this one is a full four-seater, although adult males might find headroom in the back restricted - using soft bags.

And when the roof is up, as it would be on a long journey, there's a gi-mungous 490 litres of boot space, bigger than most large-size family cars, and almost on a par with Renault's own Megane sedan.

A neat touch is that when you lock the doors (using the normal remote keyless Megane card) the glovebox also locks - a great touch on a convertible, automatically protecting your valuables.

On the road

First up, the car looks gorgeous. You get in by swinging yourself into position on the steeply-sloping windscreen, much as you have to with the Peugeot 307 CC, and once in you're well ensconced in the comfortable form-fitting seats.

The seats are upholstered in charcoal grey leather, but there's the option of red if you want it - and it looks fabulous whether the car is black or silver.

The dashboard is pure Megan, with soft-touch materials and a smart, albeit fairly plain, centre console containing all the controls for the aircon and the sound system.

Then, right in front of the driver, is an instrument binnacle with revcounter and speedo in large dials, plus smaller gauges for fuel and water temperature.

Whether the roof is up or down you immediately feel at home in the car, and getting comfortable is assisted by the height and lumbar adjustment on the driver's seat, as well as rake and reach adjustment of the steering wheel.

There's not a lot of wind buffeting thanks to that large windscreen, but you can virtually eliminate it altogether if you put the wind deflector in place in the rear seat space. Of course, this means no room for passengers?

Twists and turns

We drove the 2-litre petrol version on the launch, held in the Cape in and around Franschoek and Stellenbosch, and we were well able to take the cars to their limits on some of the best drivers' roads in South Africa.

First news - this is not a harsh take-it-or-leave-it sports car.

Handling is good, as to be expected from every Megane-based model, but it's not the super-taut feeling you get from a firmly-sprung sports car.

Rather, this one has been built for cruising, giving superb ride quality while still retaining the ability to corner very, very quickly, especially on long fast sweeps.

The car comes with a slick-shifting 6-speed gearbox, allowing better ratios than a 5-speeder.

But the car is heavy, mainly due to the glass roof and its mechanism, tipping the scales at a whopping 1 465 kg (the 1.6-litre version is 70 kg lighter) and this blunts the performance somewhat, especially when exiting slow-speed corners.

No rattles

That said, the bodywork felt rigid and firm, with absolutely no shake, rattle, or roll.

But the Megan CC is not about racing around the countryside at high speed, blurring the background and making passengers nervous.

Instead, it's all about merging INTO the countryside, smelling the fynobos, and if you're lucky, listening to the whales talking as you wend your way between Gordon's Bay and Rooiels.

The glass top is also great, taking the edge off the wind to give a quiet ride while still retaining that oneness with nature.

And if it starts to get too hot, there's a roller blind that keeps the sun off the top of your head.


  • Megane CC 1.6 16V 5-speed R240 000
  • Megane CC 2.0 16V 6-speed R270 000
  • Megane CC 2.0 16V 5-speed automatic R282 000
  • Megane CC 1.9 dCi 6-speed manual R285 000 (available from March)

    The cars in detail

    The Dynamique 1.6 entry level model has a 16-valve four-cylinder engine displacing 1598 cm³

    Fitted with variable valve timing and a drive-by-wire throttle, it delivers maximum power of 83 kW at 6 000 r/min, with maximum torque of 152 Nm at 4 200 r/min. Some 90% of the maximum torque figure is available from 2 000 r/min upwards. It is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.

    The 1 870 cm³ turbo-diesel engine fitted to the 1.9 dCi Dynamique Plus utilises common rail injection technology, and a variable nozzle turbocharger equipped with vanes whose angle is electronically controlled as a function of engine speed and load. The result is a maximum power output of 88 kW and peak torque of 300 Nm, at 4 000 and 2 000 r/min respectively.

    From its 1 998 cm³³ the engine used in the flagship Privilege 2.0 develops 98.5 kW at 5 500 r/min, while maximum torque is 191 Nm at only 3 750 r/min. As with its 1.6-litre stable mate, 90% of the maximum torque is available from 2 000 r/min upwards.

    Both the 2.0 16V Privilege and Dynamique Plus 1.9 dCi are fitted with a new six-speed manual gearbox.

    A four-speed proactive automatic gearbox with a flick-shift sequential selector is offered as an option on the 2.0 16V Privilege. This transmission utilises nine auto-adaptive shift strategies pre-programmed into the ECU for optimum gear shifting behaviour regardless of driving conditions.

    Equipment levels on all three models are generous. The Dynamique 1.6 has colour-coded bumpers and exterior mirrors, satin chrome door handles, front fog lamps, 16-inch alloy wheels, headlamp wash system, fuel flap with integrated filler, and tinted windows all round.

    Auto headlights

    The headlamps switch on automatically in low light conditions, and boast double optics and a "see-me-home" courtesy delay system.

    The seats are upholstered in charcoal grey leather with matching cloth inserts and interior trim, with red leather as an option. A six-speaker 4 x 15W single slot CD/tuner is fitted, with the option of an additional six-disc CD-changer.

    Standard equipment includes rain-sensitive automatic windscreen wipers, electric control and heating for the exterior mirrors, a steering column that adjusts for reach & rake, leather steering wheel, satellite audio controls and an aviation-style handbrake.

    There's also cruise control with speed limiter, air conditioning with pollen filter, cooled and lockable glovebox, electric windows front and rear with one-touch function in front.

    Instrumentation includes an onboard computer and exterior temperature gauge.

    Safety features include fully adjustable front headrests, front- and rear safety belt pre-tensioners, a total of eight airbags. The car got the full 5 stars in the Euro NCAP crash test - the only cabriolet to achieve that.

    All three models have ABS with EBD electronic brake distribution and EBA emergency brake assist (the hazard lights automatically activate when EBA is operational).


    Security is catered for by Renault's Anti-Intruder Device (RAID) alarm system, deadlocking, and keyless entry using the Renault Card system.

    Because of the additional strengthening beams fitted to the chassis in the absence of a fixed roof, the underfloor storage compartments fitted to the Megane hatchback are absent in the Coupe-Cabriolet.

    The Dynamique Plus 1.9 dCi shares all of the features of the Dynamique 1.6, adding 17-inch alloy wheels and Climate Control.

    The flagship Privilege 2.0 is distinguished from the other models by its interior, which boasts full perforated beige leather trim.

    The glass roof uses 3.15mm-thick Venus 40 glass to cut noise and glare.

    Operation of the roof is simple and quick. Opening and closing, performed by an electro-hydraulic mechanism, are entirely automatic and require no additional latching. Just push a button the centre cubby and hold it until the process is finished.

    Storage places

    Stowage spaces include a 6-litre centre armrest locker and stowage bins with bottle holders in the doors.

    Interior space is generous for this class of car, and the front seats have been lowered by 24 mm compared to the hatchback.

    In the back, headroom, knee room and shoulder room are among the best in class. Access to the rear seats is made easier by the position-memory of the front seat slides and seat backs.

    As it shares the platform of the Megane, torsional strength of the chassis and upper body structure is among the best on the market, with obvious safety advantages.

    The stiffness of the body has been designed to keep the cabin space intact in the event of a rollover, with the aid of strengthened windscreen pillars, body sides and sills, and by the two fixed roll-hoops installed as standard.

    The car has variable-assistance power electric steering.


    All models get Renault South Africa's three-year/100 000 km warranty and six-year anti-corrosion guarantee.

    Also included is a three-year/60 000 km maintenance plan.

    Service intervals are 15 000 km for the petrol-engined models, and 10 000 km for the turbo-diesel.

    Renault Megane CC gallery


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