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