What is it?
A cynical piece of marketing — or the revival of one of the iconic names of motoring history; it depends on which way you look at it.
There was a lot of excitement when news first broke a year ago about Renault’s plans to bring the Gordini name back. But then the truth materialised: the Gordini models (based on Renaultsport’s Twingo and Clio) would be no more than a new paint job, exterior styling tweaks, some extra options boxes ticked and a few interior changes, including an individual ‘one of 500’ plaque.
What’s it like?
The standard Renaultsport Clio is a favourite in the Autocar office and has humbled many cars with considerably higher sticker prices. The Gordini model is no exception; the 197bhp 2.0-litre unit is a gem of an engine that gets better as it revs towards the redline. It encourages you to push on – and rewards you with peak power arriving at 7100rpm when you do. There’s also a low growl from the exhaust, something sadly absent from many of today’s other hot hatches.