The Renault Twingo has a brave new face, and the changes have extended to the top-of-the-range Renaultsport 133 version. It’s also slightly more fuel efficient and better equipped, but how will this junior hot hatch fare now it’s arrived in the UK?
As with the standard car, there’s a new grille and four separate headlamps, while this RS version has a distinctive F1-style spoiler sitting under the front bumper.
An optional set of dark 17-inch alloys – 16-inch wheels are standard – plus a chunky bodykit complete the new look.
Inside, we found the driver’s seat wouldn’t drop low enough, so you always feel like you’re perched too high in the car. Neat new piano-black inserts and a higher-quality dashboard are steps forward, though, while there’s an additional £500 worth of equipment compared to the old car – including Bluetooth, air-con and cruise control.
Virtually nothing has changed mechanically, so this hot Twingo is just as fast off the mark as its predecessor. It takes 8.7 seconds to cover 0-62mph – the same as the Suzuki Swift Sport. There’s also a gruff noise as the naturally aspirated 1.6-litre engine whizzes towards its 7,000rpm red line.
The car’s handling is just as intoxicating – especially with the lower and stiffer Cup chassis on our car (a £700 option). Aside from a dead spot around the straight-ahead, the steering is communicative and well weighted, allowing you to throw the Twingo into corners with confidence. The short-throw 'box satisfies, too.
But the low gearing and lack of a sixth speed mean that the engine’s running at a buzzy 3,700rpm on the motorway, plus there’s lots of road and wind noise. The ride is firm – although this is partly down to the Cup chassis – while the sports seats hold occupants tightly in place.
The Twingo costs £1,300 more than before, but at £13,565, it’s still on a par with the Suzuki Swift Sport. Economy has improved to 43.5mpg, but you won’t match that figure if you drive it as the maker intended.