Renault Twizy F1 review
The Renault Twizy F1 is an extreme version of the oddball electric car with F1-sourced KERS tech and 97bhp
The Renault Twizy F1 isn’t the quickest or most sensible car around, but as soon as you get behind the wheel you’re thankful Renault has built it. There’s nothing else like this on the road. Let’s just hope all the hard work has implications for Renault’s range of future road cars because after our first taste of KERS, we want to keep going back for more.
As if the all-electric Renault Twizy wasn’t mad enough already, it’s now been given a Formula One-style makeover – and Auto Express has jumped behind the hi-tech steering wheel of this £1million one-off.
The changes have been made by the Renaultsport F1 team, including the F1-style carbon-fibre front splitter and rear spoiler. With the Twizy boasting a top speed of 68mph, they probably won’t do much for downforce, but they certainly do ensure that it looks the part.
And to go with its F1 looks, this very special Twizy gets some Formula One technology in its powertrain. As well as the usual 17bhp electric motor, Renaultsport has fitted the KERS electric boost system from its F1 car, which ups power to 97bhp for 13-second bursts.
We wanted to know what 97bhp of electric power feels like in a 564kg car, so leapt at the chance to don a racing helmet, step over the carbon fibre side pods and prepare for a pedal to the metal acceleration run against a Renaultsport Megane 265.
We press the starter button to fire up the Twizy, then activate the KERS system, which immediately begins whirring away like a hi-tech vacuum cleaner behind your head.
With a foot on the brake, we push the throttle all the way down, grab hold of the Formula Renault 3.5 steering wheel, and then take our foot off the brake. Those big racing slicks grip instantly and you rocket forwards on a wave of all-electric torque – it’s not as fast as most supercars, but it’s definitely a lot more fun.
At the end of the 100-metre straight-line drag race, we’ve beaten the Megane, suggesting that Renault’s predicted 0-62mph time of under seven seconds is probably more like six seconds.
It’s hugely addictive – driving the Twizy F1 is something you’ll want to do over and over again.
Unfortunately, it’s not for sale. Instead, as Jean Michel Jalinier, MD of Renaultsport F1, said: “It shows that the same principles we see on the race track can be filtered down to road-legal city cars.”
So KERS-powered Renaults aren’t here just yet, but this technology could very well play a key role in the company’s future range of road cars.