In hard times, so it’s no bad thing to be reminded that the low-carbon future that is imposing itself upon us it not without upsides. Cars will surely become smaller and lighter, but far from this removing fun, it seems likely that we’ll end up enjoying ourselves rather more. If it turns out that this Twingo Renaultsport 133 is in the vanguard of a new breed of small performance cars,  you’ll not hear us complaining.

Bloated kerb weights mean much of the magic conjured by, say, Peugeot’s 205 GTi is a dim and distant memory when you drive today’s hot hatches.

But Renault is convinced that the Twingo is the car to bring it back, and given that it’s the progeny of the same minds that created the Clio 197 and Megane R26R, two of our favourite sporting cars of any description, there’s no questioning its pedigree.

What seems more open to doubt is whether even the shining talents of Renaultsport can create a convincing makeover of a car, which is based on the underpinnings of the Mk2 Clio.

The RS Twingo is also available with a Cup chassis option that has 10 percent stiffer damping and springing, and an additional 4mm taken off its ride height.

Slightly confusingly, there’s also a version called Cup, which 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. Naturally, this gets the usually optional Cup chassis as standard.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Top 5 Pocket rockets

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LS 500h
    First Drive
    14 December 2017
    New flagship saloon from Lexus provides a luxury interior to rival the best but comes up short due to its hybrid powertrain
  • Volkswagen T-Roc 1.0 TSI SE
    First Drive
    14 December 2017
    Volkswagen's has high aspirations for its new crossover be the best in class and then some. We've driven the 1.0 TSI T-Roc out in the UK to see if it's as good as Wolfsburg says
  • Dacia Sandero Stepway LPG
    First Drive
    14 December 2017
    We’re familiar with the Sandero – it’s the cheap fuel that really intrigues us. We’ve sourced a dual-fuel Dacia to determine whether running a car on LPG is practical in Britain
  • Ford Mondeo ST-Line
    First Drive
    13 December 2017
    The Mondeo ST-Line marries sporty styling with that car's signature dynamism to make a rather appealing package designed for private buyers
  • Audi RS4 Avant
    First Drive
    12 December 2017
    The Audi RS4 Avant covers ground like few, if any, other estate cars, but it doesn’t involve you all that much in the process