Renault says the ride of the new Megane will be better than the current model, thanks to new suspension and a more responsive power steering system.
It also says the use of large brakes means the car can stop from 62mph in 37 metres which Renault claims is among the class best.
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.