We've long told you that convertibles and Australia don't necessarily mix, but as part of its newest efforts to reinvent itself in the Aussie market, Renault has decided that the new glass-top Megane CC (coupe/cabriolet, we assume) is worth pushing. TopGear ran a previous-iteration CC for six months, and came away a bit underwhelmed, but the new one at least looks a lot more inspiring.
From a very young age, French chassis engineers are taught that a compliant, responsive ride doesn't have to come at the expense of roll stiffness; in other words, the CC is comfortable over pretty much anything the urban jungle can throw at you without feeling like a dinghy in a washing machine. The rest of the drive experience, though, isn't much to write home about. The doughy electrically-assisted steering feel and lacklustre power delivery add up to a sum that's just on the wrong side of dullsville. Propelling 1900kg of cabriolet with a 103kW four-cylinder engine is always a tall ask, and adding the economical ‘advantage' of a constantly variable transmission just makes things noisier and more irritating than it needs to be. No manual option, either, sorry.
Breathless press releases extol the virtues of the folding glass roof lowering in ‘just 21 seconds'. Funny, but my good old Seiko didn't get close to stopping at 21 seconds when I raised or lowered the roof... let's call it the better part of 26 seconds between friends. On a mild spring afternoon, the dark glass roof performed okay, but it will be a different story in the height of a country town summer, and the opaque cloth screen wouldn't be much help. And given it's a bloody heavy part of the car (110kg in total) the roof mechanism has a noticeable effect on the handling when it's stowed over the back half. Scuttle shake was minimal, though the dash panel hummed a bit. Wind buffeting at 80-100km/h is minimal.
The CC presents much better than its predecessor, with a convincing exterior makeover that gives the Megane silhouette some much-needed sass. The Megane's new four-seater interior, too, is great, though the stereo is still too fiddly to use by half.