Renault Twingo Gordini review

Stephen Dobie
1 Jul 2010
Verdict:

First drive of the return of Renault Gordini hot hatches: a striped Renaultsport Twingo 133 Cup

Evo Rating: 
Price: 
£14,500 (£15,010 as tested)
For 
As riotous and fun as a normal Twingo Cup
Against 
It costs three grand more

What is it?
The Renaultsport Twingo 133, but in all-new Gordini trim. It's the re-birth of Renault's motorsport brand, albeit in the form of cosmetic tweaks and accessories. The car driven here, with harder Cup chassis and flash alloys, costs £15,010.
 
Technical highlights
The Cup chassis – just like on other hot Renaults – lowers the ride height (here by 4mm over a non-Cup Renaultsport Twingo, which itself is 10mm lower than a regular Twingo) and stiffens the springs and dampers (10 per cent over the non-Cup car, which is 30 per cent stiffer than standard). For £200 you can also specify the 'Renaultsport Monitor' – a digital unit that provides lap times, engine data and real-time G-force, power and torque figures. It'll also tot up acceleration times and save your best efforts.
 
What’s it like to drive?
Just like other Twingo 133 Cups we've driven, i.e. brilliant. All the basics are covered, with well-weighted pedals, a snappy five-speed manual (you never crave a sixth gear) and sharp, precise steering, while you can't fail to have confidence in the forceful brakes. It handles neatly and grips tenaciously.

With 131bhp it's brisk rather than fast, but that merely forces you to maintain as much momentum as possible through corners, leading to a riotous and satisfying drive. A slightly lighter, entry-level Twingo Cup (click here for the review) might provide an iota of extra interaction, but nothing you'll really miss.
 
How does it compare?
Similarly fun and capable rivals come in the shape of the £11,005 Fiat Panda 100HP and £12,740 Suzuki Swift Sport, while closer to home a regular Renaultsport Twingo Cup costs from £12,100 new. If it's plush paint and funky stripes you're after, you can start personalising a Mini Cooper or Citroen DS3 from around £14,000. The appeal of a £15K Gordini (£14,500 without Cup chassis) thence wanes, despite its limited status (200 are UK-bound).
 
Anything else I need to know?
The Cup chassis is a near-essential option if you're a keen driver on road or track, while the Gordini's price tag is put into even firmer context by delivery-mileage Renaultsport Clio 200s for the same money. We know where our £15K would go.

Big hot hatch group test: Twingo v Swift v Panda v Fiesta Mountune v more...

Specifications

Engine In-line 4-cyl, 1598cc
Max power 131bhp @ 6750rpm
Max torque 118lb ft @ 4400rpm
0-60 8.7sec (claimed)
Top speed 125mph

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