Finally, we’re getting a hotter version of the Twingo. We’ve been waiting with bated breath for a performance version of the rear engined, rear-wheel drive Renault since the standard car was released two years ago.
The Twingo GT will use the 898cc turbocharged three cylinder engine from the current top-spec Twingo. However, the engine has been retuned to produce 108bhp at 5750rpm, and 125lb ft of torque from 2000rpm. The GT will be in showrooms on Devember 1st and will cost just £13,755.
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The GT's power increase is partly down to a new intake system, which draws air from an intake on the rear left-hand wing rather than above the wheel arch. Its position helps reduce the temperature of incoming air by 12 per cent - and cooler air means denser air. The shape also means a greater flow of air, all of which helps feed an uprated turbocharger.
The fuel pump gets a boost too, as does the water pump to keep up with cooling demands. A new exhaust system - with twin exit tips - improves airflow at the other end, while shorter ratios to the five-speed gearbox should make the car feel a little more nippy.
Renault Sport has used knowledge from the Megane RS project to improve throttle response too, with a feeling of 'less inertia' - revs should rise and fall a little quicker than in many modern city cars, which can hang onto revs far too long during gearchanges.
While not a full RS product, the Twingo GT gets firmer dampers for the otherwise standard springs, a thicker anti-roll bar and 20mm lower stance. The variable-rate steering has been adapted, and the ESP and traction control has been recalibrated. Promisingly, chief engineer Matthieu Métivier suggests the ESP will even leave room for 'a slight drift' when exiting tighter corners - not a sensation you'll find in many city cars.
A set of 17in alloy wheels completes the chassis transformation, though we're not convinced by Renault's usage of Yokohama BluEarth tyres, which sound like they'll be on the wrong side of the grip and rolling-resistance equation for our tastes.
The last hot Twingo, the Renault Sport Twingo 133, had the sporting chops for an 8.6sec 0-62mph time and a 127mph top speed. The latest car won't quite match that - Renault will only say 'less than 10 seconds' for the 0-62mph dash - but with a kerb weight of 935kg (to the old 133's 1050kg) it gets closer on power-to-weight, at 115bhp/ton to the 133's 127bhp/ton It's not far off the 122bhp/ton of an original 2-litre Porsche 911, either...
The new Twingo GT might not be a proper Renault Sport product like the 133, and it’s far from as hardcore the TwinRun concept that initially previewed the new Twingo, but it should bring welcome life to the city car class. Pricing will be revealed closer to the car's launch this winter.
And if you're still not keen, there's always the upcoming Smart Fortwo and Forfour Brabus: also rear-drive, also packing 108bhp and boasting its own shrunken sports-car styling.