Show­ing sporty side

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

TEST DRIVE RE­NAULT TWINGO GT

HE Re­nault Twingo GT looks like a party an­i­mal – and doesn’t dis­ap­point when you get be­hind the wheel. The dinky rear-wheel-drive city car is given the treat­ment both in­side and out leav­ing the nor­mal model far be­hind.

And in­deed that should be the case as a price tag of a shade over £14,000 is not cheap.

The ex­te­rior is glitzy with 17-inch al­loy wheels and twin chrome ex­haust pipes im­me­di­ately grab­bing your at­ten­tion.

The GT body kit sees the ad­di­tion of front and side skirts, as well as ex­tended wheel arches and a rear dif­fuser. There are also sporty look­ing de­cals on the front grille and side doors while a vent above the rear wheels and Re­nault Sport lo­gos on the kick plates are nice touches.

There are also Re­nault Sport badges on the side and on the tail­gate to set the GT apart.

It looks like it should be nippy and with a tur­bocharged 898cc three-pot en­gine and sport chas­sis, fea­tur­ing a re­vised sus­pen­sion, the Twingo doesn’t hang around – although it is not quite in hot hatch ter­ri­tory.

The of­fi­cial 0-62mph time is 9.6 sec­onds but the growl emit­ted from the 110bhp unit com­bined with a hun­kered down stance give the im­pres­sion it is far quicker than that. The five-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion is slick and once un­der­way over­tak­ing is en­cour­aged as there is plenty of power mid-range.

The car re­sponds well to be­ing driven at pace and won’t cost a for­tune while you’re bar­relling around as it re­turns around 35 miles to the gal­lon while an over­all av­er­age of 45mpg isn’t pie in the sky. Of­fi­cially the fuel re­turn is 54.3mpg with emis­sions of 115g/km.

The Twingo GT is fun to drive es­pe­cially in town where its abil­ity to nip in and out of traf­fic and zoom away from traf­fic lights is seen to best effect. Re­nault’s baby also of­fers the ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity of a jet fighter with a tight turn­ing cir­cle make it in­cred­i­bly easy to park.

The cabin also gets the GT treat­ment from the French mo­tor man­u­fac­turer.

There are tinted rear win­dows, al­loy gear knob and alu­minium ped­als, plus smart sport seats and splashes of colour around the air vents, door pan­els and seat­ing trim. Stylish steer­ing wheel in­serts and dashboard sur­rounds also make their pres­ence felt.

Plenty of kit is thrown in with sat nav, cli­mate con­trol, cruise con­trol, rain-sens­ing wipers and au­to­matic head­lights all mak­ing an ap­pear­ance. If I had driven the car for any more than my al­lot­ted week though I would have found a way to switch off the an­noy­ing alert for traf­fic cam­eras which didn’t ex­ist.

One op­tional ex­tra worth con­sid­er­ing is Re­nault’s R-Link mul­ti­me­dia sys­tem ac­cessed through a sev­eninch colour touch­screen which, for another £600, adds a high def­i­ni­tion re­vers­ing cam­era and park­ing sen­sors, au­dio stream­ing, Blue­tooth and more pow­er­ful speak­ers. Other ad­di­tions inc-lude an eye-catch­ing or­ange metal­lic paint job, spe­cial GT roof and bon­net de­cals and stor­age un­der the rear seats bring­ing the to­tal cost of the car to £15,070.

Re­nault are shrewd enough to know that for the younger gen­er­a­tion likely to buy this Twingo these ‘op­tional’ ex­tras are go­ing to be viewed as ne­ces­si­ties.

But that should not de­tract from the fact their city slicker is GreaT.

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