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Sydney show: Renault strikes back with new models

Tardis: Renault claims its Fluence small sedan has class-leading interior and boot space.

Renault comes clean on Fluence, Latitude, Megane CC, RS 250 – and more

15 Oct 2010

RENAULT took the covers off a raft of significant new models at today’s Sydney motor show that will soon hit the streets and which it hopes will provide a major boost to sales volume in Australia, including the Fluence small sedan, Latitude mid-sizer and Megane Coupe-Cabriolet.

While the stunning Megane Trophy racecar arguably attracted most attention on the French brand’s show stand, along with the long-awaited Megane RS 250 Cup Trophee, the Fluence will join the recently released all-new X32-series Megane five-door hatchback in bolstering Renault’s all-important small-car range, with pricing now confirmed at $22,990 (plus on-road costs) for the Dynamique manual.

The South Korean-built, European-designed Fluence is claimed to have the most spacious passenger compartment and the largest boot volume (530 litres) in its class, and has arrived in Australia with a high level of specification.

Standard safety features include six airbags, electronic stability and traction control, and ABS brakes with EBD and brake assist.

35 center imageFrom top: Renault Latitude, Renault Megane CC, Renault Megane hatch, Renault Megane RS 250 Cup, Renault Megane Trophy racecar.

Also featuring on the Fluence are Renault’s hands-free keycard, heated and folding electric mirrors, power-operated windows, a trip computer, climate-control air-conditioning, cruise control (with speed limiter), a six-speaker MP3-compatible CD stereo, multimedia box, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, foglights, an alarm, height-adjustable driver’s seat (with lumbar support) and automatic headlights and wipers.

A higher-spec auto-only Privilege variant will also be offered, priced from $29,990.

Power comes from the Renault-Nissan Alliance ‘M4R’ 2.0-litre DOHC four-cylinder petrol engine, as seen in Megane (among other models), which produces 103kW at 6000rpm and 195Nm at 3750rpm.

It drives the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission (which adds $2000 on the Dynamique), while fuel economy is rated at 7.8L/100km for both transmission variants.

Another model produced in collaboration with Samsung and to be built in South Korea, the Latitude is set to replace the slow-selling Laguna and was today confirmed as being on schedule for release in Australia early in 2011, with a choice of both petrol and diesel power and with both variants priced from below $40,000.

Full details are still to be confirmed, but the Latitude will be offered only in Privilege specification, with an optional luxury pack. The powertrain line-up will comprise a 2.5-litre V6 petrol engine (mated with a CVT) and a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel (combining with a conventional six-speed automatic).

Arriving just in time for summer, the all-new third-generation Megane Coupe-Cabriolet has also emerged in a single specification – a well-appointed Dynamique 2.0-litre CVT, priced from $45,990.

The headline act on the attractive cabriolet is a unique automatic foldable glass sunroof that opens and closes in a claimed 21 seconds.

Other notable features include a glass wind deflector, standard leatherette upholstery, fully integrated satellite-navigation (with centre joystick), rear parking sensors, Renault hands-free smart card and the full gamut of safety features and associated acronyms, including six SRS airbags, ESP, ABS, ASR, EBD and EBA.

Standard equipment on the Megane CC also runs to 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, climate-control air-conditioning, a trip computer, and six-speaker stereo with Bluetooth streaming audio/phone control and multimedia connections.

Power comes from the same 2.0-litre petrol engine as in the Fluence sedan, although the CC is restricted to a CVT automatic transmission.

Renault also took the covers off the much-anticipated X95-series Renault Sport-derived Megane RS 250 Cup Trophee, which finally arrives in Australia with a starting price of $46,990.

A regular RS 250 Cup sans Trophee trim is also set to reach Renault showrooms on November 1, priced from $41,990.

Rivalling high-performance Euro hatches such as the VW Golf GTI and Ford Focus XR5 Turbo, the piping-hot three-door hatchback is powered by a revised 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine – a variation of the unit in the previous X84 Megane RS – that produces 184kW at 5500rpm and 340Nm at 3000rpm.

It drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential, offers fully switchable ESC, and has a host of other hot-hatch features including a Brembo braking package and 19-inch ‘Steev’ alloy wheels with 235/35 Z-rated tyres.

Also onboard are LED daytime running lights, Renault Sport Recaro front seats, drilled aluminium pedals, an RS monitor display, RS sports steering wheel (leather-trimmed, with yellow straight-ahead marker), dual-zone climate-control and an eight-speaker ‘Arkamys 3D’ single-CD stereo with MP3 compatibility, Bluetooth streaming audio/phone control and a multimedia connection box.

Other Renault models on display in Sydney include the recently released limited-edition Clio Gordini RS200 Edition, priced from $39,140, the new Megane hatchback – launched last month from an ultra-competitive $22,990 – and the Koleos SUV, which also had its entry price slashed to $28,490 recently with a new 4x2 Expression variant.

Developed for the ‘World Series by Renault’ race series in Europe, the FIA Sports Prototype-compliant Megane Trophy racecar was designed by Renault Sport Technologies and features a mid-mounted 3.5-litre 24-valve V6 engine that produces 268kW at 7100rpm and 390Nm at 5750rpm.

It drives the rear wheels through a six-speed semi-automatic sequential gearbox (with steering wheel paddles) and tips the scales at just 980kg, thanks in large part to the polyester bodywork that sits on a tubular steel chassis.

Forthcoming new vehicles not on display but which will also form part of Renault’s resurrected model range include a new-generation Kangoo compact van and upgraded Trafic medium-sized van and cab-chassis series.

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