ONE of the great advantages of sampling cars for more than 50 years is the privilege of driving some model lines through their entire career.
One such is the Renault Megane which appeared in 1995 and was the first Renault to pose a serious threat to the then dominant Ford Escort in the UK.
At the time, Renault predicted that this voluptuous successor to the old 19 would soon eclipse the former's 1989 sales peak of 29,000.
Since then a lot of water has passed under the bridge and the Megane is still with us, now in its fourth generation, and the old sales prediction has proved rather conservative as the global figure for Megane over the past 20 years tops 6.5 million.
Like the original, the latest model is a stunning good looker and is based on the Renault-Nissan CMF Alliance architecture and is built in Spain.
It is a car that indicates that Renault is out to carve far more sales. With the launch of the new Megane and the forthcoming new Scenic MPVc, Renault will have completely renewed its family car line-up in the space of little over a year.
Longer and lower than the previous third generation Megane and with more dynamic proportions the newcomer comes with an impressive list of stats incuding five-star Euro NCAP safety rating
Distinctive front and rear lighting signatures, set the scene for a car that says that Renault is out to charm many more drivers to its fold.
At launch, one model particularly stood out and that is the Megane GT which is capable of 145mph and can zoom to 62mph in 7.1 seconds.
This is a seriously accelerative car which comes complete with four-wheel steering and features such as launch control and multi-change down of te EDC transmission developed by Renault Sport.
Driving the GT Navwhich sells from £22,500 over twisty and undulating roads in the North Yorkshire Moors proved that the seemingly never-ending quest for ultimate handling is bearing fruits for Renault. The GT ran as if on rails and with a lot of feedback through the steering.
The UK range spans six trim level across a 25-strong version line-up and a Sport Tourer version to be launched in the UK in late 2016.
The all new Megane carries on the design revolution which has been taking place at Renault through recent model introductions like Clio, Captur and Kadjar.
It is longer and lower than the outgoing model, with a longer wheelbase and significantly wider front and rear track widths - now the widest in class - to give it even more dynamic and balanced proportions.
There is an unmistakable cockpit feel to the car thanks to the design of the centre console and instrument panel containing the multimedia tablet and seven-inch TFT display, and the sculpted, accommodating seats.
These provide high levels of comfort and support through the use of dual-density foam and identical frames to those found in the latest Espace people mover, although Renault no longer sells that model in the UK.
There are five upholstery options, including a velvet with a deep shine giving a 3D effect - all very upmarket in a car that like its predecessors is on course to do very well.