Renaultsport-fettled Twingo represents the return of the old-school hot hatch. Hello old friend, we've missed you...
What is it?
Depends how you look at it. In one way this Renaultsport Twingo 133 Cup is an even more Spartan version of the standard car, trimming weight and increasing performance, thus gaining the “Cup” tag that has been screwed on to Clios of a similar ethos.
On the other hand it is a de-specced hot Twingo, a cheaper entry into the world of RenaultSport. Air conditioning, automatic headlamp and wiper operation and tinted rear windows have all been binned and a one-piece bench finds its way into the rear in place of the complex independent sliding back seats.
Let’s face it, the Cup isn’t quite ready for Group N status but the changes have to be worth a few kilos (the Clio 197 Cup lost 20kg with similar omissions) and add kudos to the lairy-looking baby Renault.
The big news, however, is the savings to your wallet. The 133 Cup costs £700 less than the standard version, but naturally comes with the Cup chassis pack thrown in, which is normally a £650 option.
With just 270 Twingo Renaultsports finding UK owners this year – 30 per cent of total Twingo sales – Renault will be hoping the reduced price will help to shift a few more units, too.
The 133 Cup also introduces the new ‘Black and White’ Renault i.d. pack option, with ‘Glacier White’ bodywork and gloss black finish to the door mirrors, rear spoiler and front bumper trims for £150. The Cup 17-inch alloy wheels can also be painted gloss black for a further £175.
What’s it like?
Official figures for the Twingo Cup’s diet programme don’t exist, so working out any performance gains cannot be done on paper. On the road at first it doesn’t seem that much easier, with no obvious hike in poke, but give it time and the Twingo Cup shows up a little newfound verve.
Admittedly the Cup badges create a placebo effect, but a touch less inertia gives a slightly smoother power delivery, ironing out the initial hesitancy low down in the rev range. The needle seems to zip round to the 7000rpm limit a nanosecond quicker too, releasing that addictive rasp at the 6750rpm peak power a little sooner.
The Twingo Cup also leaves you wondering whether a few grams of sound-deadening material may have found its way to the factory floor too, the cheeky exhaust note seemingly resonating slightly louder in the cabin. Working out what else could be chucked to save a few more grams becomes a new preoccupation in traffic jams, too.
Through the bends the Twingo Cup is excellent, much like the standard car, with a chuckable, exploitable chassis, matched by the quick steering. Again like the standard car when it is fitted with the Cup chassis, the pay-off is a rock hard, sometimes bouncy, ride, although this is unlikely to put off potential customers of this type of car.
The lack of air con is also unlikely to be a great loss, considering the savings. Visually the ‘Black and White’ pack works well, giving the car a suitable competition look. The only bugbear being the optional black paint hides the 17-inch five-spoke alloys, which are among the best-looking wheels on the market.
Should I buy one?
Absolutely, if you want a no-nonsense hot hatch. For an enthusiast the Twingo 133 Cup is one of the most entertaining steers around, for any money.