Paris motor show - Renault Megane

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Renault says its new Megane hatchback will be a rival to the class-leading VW Golf when it goes on sale in November, priced from £13,995.

Going on sale at a later date, and with prices yet to be announced, will be the Megane coupe, which is also in Paris.

On the exterior, only the wings, bonnet and headlamps are shared between the hatchback and coupe models of the Megane.

The dashboard and interiors, however, are very similar, although the coupe features sporty touches such as more enveloping seats.

Renault says the new Megane has been styled to look sporty – but with the radical derrier that spawned the current version's advertising campaign gone, we think that might be a bit of an optimistic description.

So can Renault meet its lofty ambitions?

Well, there's a clear emphasis on improving quality: in particular, Renault has paid close attention to ensuring the gaps between body panels are reduced, and that the fit and finish of the interior materials are better than ever.

Renault also says the ride of the new Megane will be better than the current model's, thanks to new suspension and a more-responsive power steering system. While the hatchback has been configured to provide a supple ride in all conditions, the coupe has been set up for a sportier, harder ride.

Five diesel engines will be available from launch, with between 84bhp and 128bhp. All but the highest-powered engine will emit less than 120g/km of carbon dioxide. Two additional engines with 147bhp and 158bhp will be added at a later date.

The four-strong petrol line-up will range in power from 98bhp to 177bhp. A 128bhp engine will be added to the line-up in spring 2009.

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