The Renault Twingo is a quirky city car, with its rear-mounted three-cylinder engine sending drive to the backwheels. It offers good cabin space and attractive styling, too, but compared with the very best choices in its class, notably the Skoda Citigo, it falls short on driving fun.
This is where the French company’s performance division, Renault Sport, comes in. Responsible for masterpieces such as the Megane 275 Trophy-R – one of the most thrilling hot hatches of recent years – Renault Sport has been injecting the brand’s roadgoing models with more power and sharper dynamics for years.
This new Twingo GT is one of the least powerful cars ever to wear the Renault Sport badge, but with 109bhp and just 1,000kg to battle against, it does serve up sprightly performance. It’ll sprint from 0-62mph in 9.6 seconds and run on to 113mph.
RenaultSport has been to work on the Twingo’s chassis, fitting 40 percent stiffer springs and dampers, lowering the ride height by 20mm and adding a thicker front anti-roll bar. The engineers have also slackened off the electronic stability control system by a degree in an effort to make the Twingo GT more fun to drive.
Power from the 898cc TCe turbo engine has been increased from 89bhp to 109bhp. The Renault Sport-tweaked model also gets 17-inch wheels, twin exhaust pipes, unique graphics and the option of a bespoke paint colour – Blaze Orange. But despite the promise of the engineers’ involvement, the Twingo GT is far from exciting to drive.
Renault claims best-in-class rear legroom, and headroom is generous. Colour-matched stitching gives cabin a racy feel throughout
There is some fun to be had in the same way that any small, relatively low-powered car can be entertaining to throw around in town or on the open road. But with very remote steering, an engine that labours through its rev range, rather than sings, and a stability control system that still cuts in far too early, the GT is ultimately frustrating from behind the wheel.
With engine under the boot floor, load area is a decent size at 219 litres. Folding the backseats flat sees the capacity increase to 980 litres
It may be rear engined and rear-wheel drive, just like a Porsche 911, but there’s so much safety built into the Twingo GTs chassis that you’d never know. The real advantage of the rear-mounted engine is a very tight 8.59-metre turning circle.
The GT is the fastest and best-looking model in the Twingo range, but with a stiffer ride, a steeper asking price and very tame driving dynamics, it struggles to make a strong case for itself.
Tuning arm has revised engine mapping, plus new vent feeds cooler air to intake to up power. And as GT weighs just 1,000kg, it performs well
NEED TO KNOW
Tuned city car is one of the least powerful models to wear Renault Sport badge
Engine: 0.9-litre 3cyl turbo
Transmission: Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Top speed: 113mph
On sale: Now
Renault Sport has been to work on the quirky little Twingo, but the result is somewhat underwhelming. Badged as a mid-range GT rather than a full Renault Sport model, the warm Twingo fails to live up to the very high standards set by the racy brand’s most memorable hot hatches. Nonetheless, the Twingo GT is still a nippy, well equipped and attractive city car.