The Renault Twingo has proved to be a welcome addition to the Renault range, especially for city dwellers looking for a surprisingly roomy car with precise handling. And now those dwellers will be able to do what they do a little bit quicker with the arrival of the new sporty Renault Twingo GT.
Over the last twenty years or so, Renault Sport has developed R.S. and GT versions of the Renault Clio and Mégane, all of which have been front-wheel drive cars. With the third generation Twingo model, the engineers were faced with a different challenge, as the car's 898cc three-cylinder engine is tilted at a 49 degree angle to increase compactness and is nestled between the rear wheels,
“It was a real challenge for Renault Sport to work on a rear-engine car since the handling of a rear-wheel drive car is very different from that to which we are accustomed. We had to tackle this issue head on, as it were, and I think we have risen to the challenge brilliantly! Twingo GT is a balanced car, fun to drive and offers performance levels that are very close to those provided by a second generation Twingo R.S.” Patrice Ratti – Managing Director, Renault Sport Cars
So just how have the Renault Sport engine designers optimised the most powerful part of the car?
One way is to modify the air intake on the rear left-hand wing, reducing the temperature of the air entering the turbocharger by around 12%, increasing the flow rate of combustive air by 23% and thereby increasing the engine's effectiveness.
The turbocharger's rotation speed has been increased, with both the fuel and water pump . The fuel pump specifically designed to adapt to accommodate this, and the exhaust system has also been specially designed and calibrated, and is fitted with a twin-exhaust silencer.
With these changes prevalent amongst other smaller ones, power in the Twingo GT has been extended to 110hp, with peak torque standing at 170Nm, all finished off with a revised ratio five-speed manual gearbox.
To work with these changes to the engine, other changes have been made around the car including:
With the Twingo GT boasting an excellent weight-to-power ratio of 8.5kg/hp in comparison to the 9.8kg/hp of Twingo II GT, some stunning performance levels are achievable, including a new benchmark initial acceleration among small sports city cars of less than 10 seconds for 0-62mph. And thanks to its crisp acceleration in all gears, pick up is amongst a category best, going from 50-75mph in less than 9 seconds.
Driving precision has been increased with the robustness of the chassis, and higher cornering speeds achieved with a sense of ease and comfort thanks to the Twingo GT's body-roll control.
“With Twingo GT, it's about enjoyment above all else. Fine-tuned by Renault Sport, the rear-engine design delivers a really fun car to drive and the acceleration and sprightly chassis are sure to put a smile on your face. Like the other GTs in the Renault Sport range, comfort, affordability and safety complement the overall consistency of the vehicle.” Benjamin Manceau – Product Manager, Twingo GT
Inspired by the Twin’Run concept car, the Twingo GT, thanks to its 17" wheel rims, very full wheel arches, and reduced ride height, looks exciting to drive from the very start.
Add in the lateral air intake, the rear bumper diffuser with twin exhaust pipe, and the Renault Sport markings on the side and rear of the car, and you would have to be held back from just jumping in and setting off around the town in it.
Available in Lunar Grey, Diamond Black and Crystal White, the new Twingo GT was unveiled in a Blaze Orange paintwork because, as Twingo Design Project Manager Maria Polla says: “Twingo is, to some extent, the cheeky little monkey of the Renault family. For this free spirit, we didn't want to apply the iconic blue paintwork seen on other GT models. Twingo GT doesn't play by the same rules. It likes surprises and that includes its funky Blaze Orange paintwork.”
NACA aircraft-inspired stripes stretch across the bonnet and extend along the length of the roof in black on the Blaze paintwork and orange on all others, and the interior style matches up with orange trim details on the bi-material leather-fabric upholstery, the centre position on the steering wheel, the air vents and the base of the gear lever, along with Renault Sport-badged door sills, aluminium pedals and an alloy gear lever knob.