The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Renaultsport Twingo takes all of Renaultsport’s chassis and tuning know-how and wraps it up in the smallest package possible. It looks good and it’s great to drive.
Reasons to buy:
- Purposeful appearance
- Great handling and chassis set-up
- Impressive running costs
How good does it look?
Small, purposeful and aggressive – the Renault Twingo Renaultsport looks like it has been left in the summer sun and started to melt into the road. It has lower side skirts, much bigger wheelarches, revised bumpers and skinny low-profile tyres. Choose the Cup package and the shorter suspension drops the Twingo by an extra 4mm and fills the wheelarches with 17-inch alloy wheels (16-inch wheels are standard). Out of all the current Renaultsport cars we think the optional chequered flag decals suit the Twingo best.
What's the interior like?
The Twingo Renaultsport has an interior which divides opinion. You’ll either love the eccentricity of the centrally mounted dash pod or wish it was more like a conventional car. One practical concern is the positioning of the speedometer, which requires a conscious look over to the left. The rev-counter pod sits directly behind the steering wheel and blinks when you need to change up a gear. Plastics around the top of the dash are good quality, but we aren’t so keen on the plastic bulge for the stereo.
How practical is it?
Being a city car, the Twingo is likely to be driven one or two-up on shorter trips, but it’s still reasonably practical. The boot has 165 litres of space, with 285 litres on offer if you tilt the rear seats. There are two rear seats which can slide fore and aft, offering only just enough space for adults. Think of them as occasional seats for shorter journeys.
What's it like to drive?
Renaultsport’s engineers have gained an impressive reputation for turning out hot hatches with impeccable handling. The Twingo with ‘Cup’ suspension is no exception. It tackles B-roads with a lightness and lack of drama which reminds us of products from car makers such as Lotus and Caterham. This isn’t just a marketing exercise, but a properly engineered tune-up. There is a polish to the way the Twingo darts into corners and grips which encourages and complements the driver and makes it surprisingly quick from A to B.
How powerful is it?
Renaultsport has shunned turbocharging for its highest performance Twingo, in favour of a high-revving 1.6-litre petrol engine. When the rev counter is above 4,000rpm the engine picks up the pace. The extra speed is accompanied by a roar from the engine and exhaust too –until the gearshift indicator flashes and you select the next cog. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 8.7 seconds: it’s not a hugely fast car in a straight line, yet its excellent handling allows you to use all its power and build great momentum.
How much will it cost me?
The Twingo Renaultsport is a fantastic a car with no shortage of kudos and driver appeal. While it’s unsurprisingly not as cheap to run as other derivatives in the Twingo range, the bills should still be some of the smallest for any performance car. Claimed fuel economy is 40.4mpg on the combined cycle, with emissions of 165g/km. Insurance group 8 is surprisingly low for such a sporty car, so it’s in reach of younger owners too.
How reliable is it?
How safe is it?
The Twingo has achieved a four-star score in EuroNCAP crash testing, which puts it just behind the class leading five-star Fiat 500. It’s a respectable result for the Twingo, which features ABS, ESP, Isofix mountings on the front passenger seat, plus front driver, passenger and front lateral airbags.
How much equipment do I get?
As standard you get a tuned chassis, Renaultsport rev counter, tuned steering, body kit, 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, sports seats, leather steering wheel, aluminium pedals, radio CD, electric windows, fog lights, tinted glass, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers plus electric door mirrors. Optional equipment includes the Cup chassis kit fitted to our test car which includes stiffer springs and dampers and bigger 17-inch wheels. Also available are cruise control, curtain airbags, rear parking sensors, panoramic sunroof, climate control, Renaultsport interior trim, wing badges and stickers.
The Renaultsport team has really excelled in producing an exciting car which costs very little to buy. Its chassis and engine have been completed with the same engineering know-how and care as the hottest Renault hatches. Drive it down a winding country lane and you won’t look back.