Those adjustments definitely make it feel quicker and there’s no doubt that this is the most entertaining version of the Twingo you can buy. In a straight line it will just about see off a Volkswagen Up 1.0 TSI, making it one of the quicker new city cars on sale, and around town its pace is very useable.
It’s not particularly gutsy but is fairly keen off the line, with a throaty three-cylinder engine and a slick, precise five-speed manual gearbox with shorter ratios than those of the standard Twingo. Its natural habitat is the city, and that is where it excels (especially with its ludicrously tight turning circle), but it’s certainly well powered enough to manage long motorway schleps.
There are some drawbacks, though. While it is quite sprightly, the engine's delivery suffers from turbo lag, so there's an awkward surge of power that appears at around 2000rpm. Even higher up the rev band there's a noticeable delay before the power kicks in. The car's pedal weights are very light, too.
While it has some useable city car pace you’re unlikely to notice the engine is in the back that and it's a rear-wheel-drive layout, because the meddlesome ESP cuts in quite abruptly, which is a shame. It’s been made less intrusive compared with the standard model, but you still can’t turn it off.
The steering remains very light and vague, too. It isn't so bad for tight manoeuvres in cities but it doesn’t give you a good indication of what the front wheels are doing at higher speeds on the open road, and its quick rack makes it feel twitchy at speed even with a variable-ratio set-up.
Still, when you're in the mood, it's an agile thing, and the suspension revisions help it feel keener and flatter through the corners. It’s also still a relatively comfortable car. The stiffer suspension offered a decent ride when we tested it in France, and our first drive in the UK shows it can put up with our rough roads even on its standard 17in alloys. Potholes do give the car a jolt, but over most surfaces it rides without complaint.
The interior is fairly pleasant. The tall body provides lots of head room for the front two, but adults won’t be especially comfy in the back. The 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system is responsive and easy to use and comes as part of the £600 Techno Pack R-Link that adds a reversing camera and DAB among other things, which is well worth a tick on the options list.
The seats don’t offer a great deal of support, and you can’t adjust the reach on the steering wheel, but it’s a relatively comfortable driving position. It does become noisy in the cabin though. Wind and road noise is a big problem at high speeds, so it can be quite tiresome to drive for long stints. The engine can handle the distance work, but the dynamics aren’t sharp enough to keep you interested.