The differences between the Megane Coupé and the five-door hatch don't end with the bodywork.
The coupé rides 43mm lower, with 12mm of that total accounted for by its lowered suspension. The ride is firmer than the five-door car but still far from uncomfortable on a well-surfaced road.
Indeed, the Megane must be one of the smoothest-riding small coupés around. Refinement is another strong point, with road and wind noise well suppressed and the engines proving far from intrusive.
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Detailed tweaks included a revised front suspension/subframe arrange- ment to improve directional precision and a better power steering system. The rear suspension has been tuned to produce a more responsive, agile ride. And there are bigger brakes, able to stop you from 62mph in 37 metres.
As for the 1.6-litre dCi 130 engine, it's got more of a turn of speed than you might expect, 60 from rest taking 9.8s on the way to 124mph.
DESIGN AND BUILD
Only the headlamps, bonnet and front wings are carried over from the five-door hatch to the Megane Coupé's exterior.
It's an appealing piece of design. The front end now features the ubiquitous LED daytime running lights while the bumper gets a gloss black finish with chrome highlights. The rear end is particularly admirable, with the side window line rising dramatically to a point that meets with that of the curving rear screen above the pumped-up haunches. The downside of this elegant glasswork is poor rear visibility, but with a set of parking sensors installed that is easy to live with.
The Coupé's interior is more sober. Updated interior trims, including a two-tone leather pack available in a choice of two finishes, lift the previously rather dour ambience. The GT line trims get specific boomerang-shaped LED lights, visible red upholstery stitching and a sports steering wheel incorporating thumb rests.
A digital speedo still dominates the instrument cluster unless you go for the GT line variant, which has proper dials. Space in the rear is OK for a pair of adults but the Coupé's rakish roofline impinges on headroom. At 344 litres, the boot is on the generous side for a car of this kind.
MARKET AND MODEL
You need a budget of around £21,000 for the 1.6 dCi 130 version, with a £1,500 premium if you want the car in sport GT line trim. That means the premium over the 110bhp 1.5-litre dCi unit is affordable.
Like Renault's Scenic and Grand Scenic, this improved Megane Coupé can be ordered with the Visio system which automatically switches from main to dipped-beam headlights.
To assist parking, a camera at the rear gives a precise image of the vehicle's immediate surroundings and depicts its trajectory to help drivers.
Overall, the Megane Coupé comes in at just £500 more than the more spacious and practical five-door hatch, but it should appeal to a very different kind of buyer. With its sleek looks and polished feel, it could conceivably pinch sales from the compact coupé sector as well as from rival three-door hatchbacks.
The Megane Coupé is an easy car to like, especially in 1.6 dCi 130 diesel guise.
This model's core strengths still lie in its ride, refinement and plush interior but it holds its own on a twisty road and the styling will convince many long before they ever get behind the wheel.
The flowing lines and curves are a long way from the five-door model, and the wide, purposeful stance leads you to expect sportscar handling. You get a bit of that with a lot of practicality. A sensible sporting car, then.