Since Renault launched its current-generation Twingo, with its funky styling and its unconventional rear-engined and rear-wheel drive powertrain, a Renaultsport version has been a desirable prospect. The closest thing we’ll get to that though is this Twingo GT.
It’s not a true Renaultsport car, but engineers from that division did tweak the car’s set up and it even bears a Renaultsport badge on the rear. The Twingo GT also has a more powerful engine than other versions of the Renault city car.
It’s more of a warm hatch than a full-on pocket rocket hot hatch, but the Twingo GT is still one of the more potent city cars around, rivalling the likes of the Fiat 500 S and Volkswagen Up! 1.0-litre TSI turbo.
Like regular versions of the Twingo, the GT model uses a dinky 0.9-litre turbocharged petrol engine and a five-speed manual gearbox. But whereas other Twingos produce just 69bhp or 89bhp, the GT gets 109bhp – about the maximum Renault say they can extract from this unit.
The Twingo GT isn’t what you call fast, but it is fairly nippy, covering the 0-62mph sprint in 9.6 seconds. Due in part to an easy-going gear change, the Twingo GT does a reasonable job building up to higher speeds, certainly better than other versions of the Twingo do. Most of the boost does arrive quite abruptly at around 2,000rpm though.
Even with the extra power, it does take some effort to make it through uphill sections, but in the urban environments you’re likely to use this car most of the time the power available is satisfactory.
Ride and Handling
Is it better to drive than a regular Twingo? Absolutely. Is it generally fun to drive? Only on specific types of roads really.
To sharpen up the Twingo’s driving experience, the GT model features updates including a tweaked suspension set-up, all-new shock absorbers, a stiffer anti-roll bar, updated electronic stability. Is it better to drive than a regular Twingo? Absolutely. Is it generally fun to drive? Only on specific types of roads really. Like the regular car, the Twingo GT feels well suited for nipping through city roads. With the extra power now onboard, it can be entertaining zipping from one set of traffic lights to the other or whizzing through the tight turns you find in town. Then there’s the brilliantly small turning circle, which only city cars from Smart can rival. There are limits to the enthusiasm though. The light steering is good for city roads but it’s too vague for you to really enjoy chucking the car through corners. Also putting a damper on things is the lack of refinement. The constant drone from the rear-bound engine can get tiresome and a lot of road and wind noise passes through the cabin, especially when you’re on higher-speed country lanes.
Interior and Equipment
Renault came up with the name Twingo by blending together the words ‘twist’, ‘swing’ and ‘tango’.
The regular Twingo already did a decent job appealing to youthful, fashion-conscious motorists and the GT is no exception. It looks particularly good in its exclusive Blaze Orange metallic paint job, though this is a £625 option. Also eye-catching is the interior which has a colourful and fun vibe without feeling too clustered. Standard kit on the Twingo was already decent for its class, so the GT comes well specced. The standard kit list includes rear parking sensors, cruise control, a sportier body kit, automatic climate control and a touchscreen. The touchscreen system supports smartphone apps and a sat-nav app can be purchased and installed too. In regards practicality, the 188 litres of boot space is similar to some other city cars like the Fiat 500 but is far behind the likes of the VW Up! and Hyundai i10 which offer just over 250 litres as standard. Visibility is decent all-round and this combined with the car’s small turning circle will make negotiating tight roads and parking a doddle. Rear seating is cramped though and not well suited for passengers larger than children.
The Renault Twingo GT starts from £13,755. That’s quite a bit to spend on a city car, you could afford a mid-range supermini with that kind of money after all.
The Renault Twingo GT starts from £13,755. That’s quite a bit to spend on a city car, you could afford a mid-range supermini with that kind of money after all. But the price is over a grand less than the Fiat 500 S with its most powerful TwinAir engine (which offers 104bhp). A turbocharged VW Up! can be bought for about two grand less but that isn’t as powerful or as quick as the GT. Combined fuel economy is at 54.3mpg and CO2 emissions are at 115g/km, but the likes of the 500 S and turbo Up! do offer over 60mpg and sub-100g/km emissions. In terms of options, the one that’s likely to stick out for buyers is the Techno Pack R-Link which replaces the standard R&GO system with more gadgetry including a reversing camera, Bluetooth and voice control.
The Renault Twingo GT may not be the proper Renaultsport hot hatch which some have dreamed of, but it has enough punch and eye-catching styling to make it a decent, fun option for commuting through cities. All-round though, the driving dynamics don’t hold up as well as other warm hatches or indeed certain other city cars like the Up! Compared to other Twingos, can the extra expense for that extra bit of power and style be justified? If you want something as compact as a city car, that’s also a bit nippy and you really buy into the styling and unique powertrain, then the GT’s costs aren’t really an issue. Just bear in mind that there are cheaper, more dynamic alternatives with almost as much performance to consider. Also, if you’re willing to upsize, you could save up an extra two or three grand and go for more entertaining warm hatches like the Ford Fiesta ST-Line and Suzuki Swift Sport.