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Re­nault adds more power, re­vised han­dling and a GT badge to the Twingo, but do they add more fun? finds out

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kent Motors -

The Twingo GT has ar­rived with, on pa­per at least, a none-too-im­pres­sive 109bhp un­der its bon­net.

De­spite what might ap­pear a short­age of horses the Twingo has weight on its side. Or rather a lack of it.

Re­nault Sport have waved a wand over the Twingo but, while there’s a bit more magic than in the stan­dard car, keener driv­ers will lament the amount of body roll in cor­ners and the too-vague steer­ing.

The sus­pen­sion has been re­vised, re­sult­ing in a ride that’s slightly firmer than in the stan­dard car and you’ll no­tice that it’s a lit­tle more sen­si­tive over un­even sur­faces but it’s com­pli­ant enough that you wouldn’t re­gret mak­ing it your daily driver.

It comes into its own ne­go­ti­at­ing towns and cities, where its ad­di­tional power and in­cred­i­bly tight turn­ing cir­cle – made pos­si­ble thanks to the rear-mounted en­gine – let you cut through traf­fic so ef­fort­lessly you could al­most be­lieve it was but­ter.

Its ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity makes it an ab­so­lute dod­dle to park as well.

You won’t be blown away by the per­for­mance of the lit­tle Re­nault’s en­gine, but it’s un­likely to dis­ap­point ei­ther. It’ll dip un­der 10 sec­onds in the sprint to 62mph and, while that isn’t go­ing to put the fright­en­ers on the ma­jor­ity of the es­tab­lished mem­bers of the hot hatch bri­gade the ac­com­pa­ny­ing sound­track is pleas­ingly en­thu­si­as­tic.

There’s a use­ful slug of the GT’s 170Nm of torque avail­able mid-range which means that, if you’ve driven one of the other cars in the line-up, you’ll no­tice it’s sig­nif­i­cantly more po­tent at higher speeds al­low­ing you to be a lit­tle more spon­ta­neous in your over­tak­ing.

It might not go quite as I’d hoped – though that dis­ap­point­ment is founded more in my ex­pec­ta­tions than Re­nault’s failings – but the GT re­mains a fun car to drive.

I can’t, how­ever, fault the styling changes. The tweaks are sub­tle, but ef­fec­tive, with unique 17 inch di­a­mond-cut al­loy wheels, front and side skirts, ex­tended wheel arches, rear dif­fuser, twin chrome ex­haust pipes and, yes, even the “go-faster stripes” all give the GT a gen­uine in­jec­tion of style.

The lat­eral air in­take above the rear wheels is a par­tic­u­larly nice touch, ref­er­enc­ing Re­nault’s sport­ing his­tory.

The in­te­rior has had some funky dust thrown at it too. There are splashes of or­ange around the air vents, gear gaiter sur­round and stitch­ing on the door pan­els and seat­ing trim. The up­hol­stery is part leather while the gear knob and ped­als are metal al­loy.

It’s all put to­gether very well – the con­trols are never very far from your fin­ger­tips – and there’s plenty of equip­ment with au­to­matic cli­mate con­trol, DAB ra­dio, Blue­tooth au­dio stream­ing and hands­free calls, sat nav and au­to­matic head­lights and wind­screen wipers.

The ad­di­tional power that the GT of­fers brings greater flex­i­bil­ity and a more re­laxed driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence but the changes to the sus­pen­sion haven’t quite yielded the ben­e­fits I’d hoped.

As a re­sult the GT doesn’t quite live up to its warm hatch as­pi­ra­tions.

The Twingo has al­ways been a ter­rific ur­ban run­about and, while Re­nault might have had greater am­bi­tions for the GT it re­mains, at its heart, a city car. And that’s no bad thing.

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