The Megane dCi 175 is the first non-petrol-engined car to wear the Renaultsport badge, and consequently has considerable fleet appeal.
On sale in June, it features a 175bhp turbodiesel engine and will cost from £18,950. Combined fuel economy of 43.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 172g/km are promised.
Renault is cagey about predicting sales figures, but in the first quarter of 2007 there were about 400 Renaultsport Meganes sold in the UK, and Europe-wide Renault expects diesels to make up half of all sales.
But James Mitchell, brand manager for Megane at Renault UK, is cautious. He said: ‘Because it’s the first diesel Renaultsport product, it is difficult to know whether we can perform as strongly as the petrol range.
‘We’re looking at what premium there is for a Renaultsport product over a standard Renault model in terms of residual values.
‘We’ll wait and see but I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future there are more diesel derivatives.’ Mr Mitchell added: ‘If we’re going to position this as a true fleet vehicle, it’s got to be something that has strong RVs.
‘User-choosers are definitely the sector of the fleet market we want to pitch the car into.’