Last night I drove home in the Twingo Renaultsport, and returned to the office this morning as a convert. If there’s a purer, old-school hot hatch experience, I’ve yet to find it.
The hottest Twingo has it all – from a ride that delivers body control at the expense of shaking fillings loose, to near-comical under-gearing: how does 4000rpm at just over 70mph sound?
The Twingo also proves that Renault’s in-house Renaultsport ‘skunkworks’ are the best hatch-fettlers around at the moment. The same magic that makes the Megane and Clio versions so great to drive hard has been successfully downsized into the Twingo. The last car I can remember that delivered anything close in such a dinky package was the much lamented VW Lupo GTI.
Like the hottest Lupo, the RS Twingo has a visual rightness to it. A bodykit this chunky can look preposterous on something so small, yet the Twingo manages just the right balance visual balance between tough and sweet – like a really angry puppy.
And it goes well, too. 133bhp doesn’t seem like much in an age when most hot hatches don’t answer the phone for less than 200bhp, but it’s enough to propel just under a tonne of Twingo along in a convincing fashion. And, like all the best hot hatches, it feels quicker than it actually is thanks to an old-school raspy exhaust note.
Okay, so £11,550 is a lot to pay for what’s basically a high-performance shopping trolley – but I defy you to have more fun in anything with a list price even within a grand of that.