Convertible Megane is a glass act

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RENAULT’S second generation Megane CC’s star feature is its folding glass roof.

Renault’s glass-roofed Megane CC is aiming to bring a new level of elegance to the affordable folding hard-top convertible market.

The competition’s tough, but this contender has enough about it to stand apart.

History suggest that cars with folding tops big enough to cover four seats aren’t the last word in structural rigidity.

But more recent models from this segment are much better in this respect, with extra chassis strengthening and, sure enough, this Megane CC, at £21,995, has an impressively solid feel, being a full 80 per cent stiffer than its predecessor.

The penalty for this is more than 180 kilos more weight.

So you wouldn’t expect it to be especially rapid. But a car can still be responsive, even if it isn’t downright quick and the 130bhp 1.4-litre TCe petrol variant tested here is a perfect example of that.

Although it takes 10.7s to cover the rest to 60mph sprint, its roll-on pace through the gears is actually pretty impressive thanks to the engine’s ample torque.

Those needing a pokier response do have the option of the 2.0-litre 180bhp TCe petrol unit based on that used in the potent Megane Renaultsport.

As is the case with most of the Megane’s rivals, boot space is compromised with the roof down, the available luggage space shrinking to 211litres.

You do at least get a very generous 417 litres with the top in place.

The smart glass roof mechanism on one of these isn’t inexpensive, creating a premium of around £3,000 over the cost of an ordinary 5-door Megane with comparable engine and spec.

That sees Megane Coupe-Cabriolet prices sitting mainly in the £22,000 to £26,000 price bracket now expected of this class of car and so slightly pricier than its most direct rivals, the Peugeot’s 308CC and Volkswagen’s Eos, but there isn’t that much in it.

This is a slightly bigger car than its predecessor, 125mm longer with a wider track, large headlights and wrap-over tail lights aiming to partly disguise its bulk.

Whether it’s also more stylish is a subjective call: it certainly looks more premium, thanks in part to the satin chrome surround of the windscreen and the gloss black roof pillars.

Affordable folding hard-top cars used to ask for some pretty big sacrifices of their owners. Today’s models are different and this one makes the point.

The second generation Megane Coupe Cabriolet both looks and feels less like they’re built around a hefty, complex roof mechanism and more like fully-developed designs in their own right.

In fact, all the reasons people buy cars of this kind are the reasons they might like this one.

It’s a little different – and more than a little desirable.

And at the end of the day, for coupe-cabriolet buyers, that’s usually what matters the most.